The HPV vaccine which is currently offered through the school’s immunisation programme to girls aged 12 to 13 could soon be offered to boys.
The UK Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced today that a universal vaccination programme protecting boys against human papillomavirus (HPV) is cost effective.
This decision paves the way for the Government, through Public Health England, to extend NHS funding which has been supporting HPV vaccination in adolescent girls since 2008.
The Government will now consider this advice.
‘Now that the JCVI has had its say, we hope Public Health England recommends a national vaccination programme and that it is implemented as soon as it is feasibly possible’.
HPV has been recognised as the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer in girls and is increasingly acknowledged as the cause of a dramatic increase in cancers which affect the throat, which is why a ‘gender-neutral’ vaccination programme, equally applying to adolescent boys, has been called for.
A change in policy would protect around 400,000 boys each year who are currently exposed to the risk of HPV infection and the range of diseases caused by the virus, including several types of cancer.