Free HPV vaccinations soon available for boys

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Estimates suggest the vaccine programme, which will now include boys, will lead to the prevention of over 64,000 cervical cancers and almost 50,000 non-cervical cancers by 2058.

The HPV virus is linked to around 5 percent of all cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer.

There is a realistic chance of eradicating most HPV-associated cancers for both men, and women, says David Elliman, immunization expert for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

More than 10 million doses have been given to girls in England since 2008, when the vaccine became available to young women on the NHS. Similarly, diagnoses of genital warts have declined by 90 per cent in 15-17 year old girls and 70 per cent in 15-17 year old boys due to the HPV vaccine.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "The potential of this vaccine to save lives and prevent the complications of cancer is huge, and since it has been available on the NHS for girls, it has had excellent take-up, with impressive results - it's important this success is replicated with boys".

In women, most cervical cancers are caused by HPV, according to sources.

Head of Immunisation at Public Health England (PHE) Dr Mary Ramsay added: "This universal programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls' programme".

Boys in the United Kingdom will be given the HPV jab from September in a bid to wipe out cervical cancer and prevent thousands of cases of other cancers, the Government has announced.

Previously it recommended that teen girls and young women who had not been adequately vaccinated receive the vaccine up to 26, but the recommendation for teen boys and young men only went up to 21.

The boys can be eligible from the start of the new faculty year, 11 years after women have been first vaccinated. If they miss out on the vaccination for any reason they should talk to their school nurse or immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date. Two doses are needed to be fully protected.

PHE said there will be no catch-up programme for older boys aged 13 to 18. Australia, which was the first country to introduce a nationwide HPV vaccination programme in 2007, is on track to eliminate it within 20 years. Prior to September 2012, a vaccine called Cervarix was used.

The HPV jab now used by the NHS is Gardasil, which protects against HPV for at least 10 years and possibly a lifetime.

There are more than 100 types of HPV.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body. Around 40 types of HPV infection can affect the genital area. They're spread during sexual activity.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "The potential of this vaccine to save lives and prevent the complications of cancer is huge, and since it has been available on the NHS for girls, it has had excellent take-up, with impressive results - it's important this success is replicated with boys". Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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