The Yale Health Plan’s Prescription Plus program will include coverage for Gardasil, the human papillomavirus vaccine released in June 2006, as well as several additional vaccines starting this September.

Director Paul Genecin said Yale University Health Services reevaluated its coverage for all vaccines this spring, focusing on a wide range of services, not just Gardasil. The organization has faced repeated student criticism over the past academic year for not covering the HPV vaccine, including a petition campaign spearheaded by the student group Colleges Against Cancer.

“We seek to be consistent in our coverage of classes of services, not just particular new drugs, vaccines, tests and treatments,” Genecin said.

Genecin said this fall, the HPV and other vaccines covered under the Prescription Plus program are subject to a $100 deductible and a 20 percent copay. Students who waive the services are still subject to the full cost of the vaccine which is estimated at $180, and students who meet the deductible will pay about $100, he said.

Prescription Plus is offered to students who also elect the Yale Health Plan’s Hospitalization/Specialty coverage, Genecin said.

“I hope that students will get the HPV vaccine as well as the other vaccines that are recommended to keep them as healthy as possible,” he said.

Axel Schmidt ’09, a Peer Health Educator who leads workshops for incoming freshman informing them about Yale’s health resources, said he is proud of Yale for making a responsible public health decision, particularly because students have been anxiously awaiting it for over a year.

“Providing incoming freshmen with all the information about how to access the vaccine will be a new part of our talk this year,” Schmidt said. “I think the student body has waited a long time for this and will be very glad to hear that Yale has decided to cover the vaccine.”

Students said they are pleased to hear about the enhancement to the Prescription Plus program and hope the University will be effective in spreading the word about the additional coverage so that students can take advantage of the new offerings.

“I think it’s great and about time that Yale [covers] the HPV vaccine,” said Jillian Roland ’09. “Now we need to make more students aware of this.”

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus transferred through genital contact, including vaginal and anal sex, as well as skin to skin contact. The Gardasil vaccine protects against strains 16 and 18, which cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11 which cause about 90 percent of genital warts.

The deadline for students to make changes to their Health Plan enrollment is September 15th.