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Boys Getting Cervical Cancer Shots in Australia Boosts Gardasil

Schoolboys in Australia have begun receiving a Merck & Co. vaccine against human papilloma virus in a world-first program aimed at fighting the main cause of cervical cancer, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

More than 280,000 boys will be eligible for free Gardasil this year, estimated to prevent a quarter of new HPV infections, Plibersek said in an e-mailed statement today. The immunization, which also protects against genital warts, will be given to boys in three doses spaced over about seven months alongside an HPV vaccination for girls that began in 2007.