HPV vaccination extended to boys

ADOLESCENT boys in the UK will now be given the HPV vaccine after a long campaign by healthcare organisations, including the BDA.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine has announced that boys aged between 12 and 13 in England will be given a vaccine to protect them against HPV-related cancers.

The decision follows updated evidence from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which recommended that the existing HPV vaccination programme for girls should be extended to boys. The devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have also committed to expansion of their vaccination programmes, which currently cover only 12-13 year old girls.

Evidence has shown that the vaccine not only protects men from HPV-related diseases – such as oral, throat and anal cancer – but also helps reduce the overall number of cervical cancers in women, though a process known as 'herd immunity'.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said: "This extended programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls’ programme, which has already reduced the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18, the main cancer-causing types, by over 80 per cent. We can now be even more confident that we will reduce cervical and other cancers in both men and women in the future."

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong commented:  "This decision will save lives. When our NHS faces such sustained pressure from so many preventable conditions, from cancers, to tooth decay and obesity, this sort of cost-effective intervention must not be a one off.  

"Health professionals need this breakthrough on HPV to mark the beginning, and not the end, of this government's willingness to invest in prevention." 

Public Health Minister Steve Brine has announced that boys aged between 12 and 13 in England will be given a vaccine to protect them against HPV-related cancers.

The decision follows updated evidence from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which recommended that the existing HPV vaccination programme for girls should be extended to boys. The devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have also committed to expansion of their vaccination programmes, which currently cover only 12-13 year old girls.

Evidence has shown that the vaccine not only protects men from HPV-related diseases – such as oral, throat and anal cancer – but also helps reduce the overall number of cervical cancers in women, though a process known as 'herd immunity'.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said: "This extended programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls’ programme, which has already reduced the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18, the main cancer-causing types, by over 80%. We can now be even more confident that we will reduce cervical and other cancers in both men and women in the future."

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong commented: "This decision will save lives. When our NHS faces such sustained pressure from so many preventable conditions, from cancers, to tooth decay and obesity, this sort of cost-effective intervention must not be a one off.

"Health professionals need this breakthrough on HPV to mark the beginning, and not the end, of this government's willingness to invest in prevention."