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HPV vaccination to be given to boys, government announces

26 July 2018

A jab that protects against a virus that causes cervical cancer will be given to boys aged 12 to 13 in England.

HIQA's Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Máirín Ryan said, "HPV infection presents a significant and increasing health burden in both males and females, but now only girls are offered the vaccine".

Currently, the national immunisation programme offers the HPV vaccine to girls in their first year of secondary school.

"Any vaccination programme must be firmly grounded in evidence to ensure that we can get the best outcomes for patients, but as a father to a son, I understand the relief that this will bring to parents".

'We are committed to leading a world class vaccination programme and achieving some of the best cancer outcomes in the world - I am confident these measures today will bring us one step further to achieving this goal'.

"With every year that passes, 12,000 more boys in Northern Ireland are left unprotected against HPV-related diseases". In England between 2010 and 2016, the rates of HPV strains 16 and 18 infection among women aged 16 and 21 years has fallen by 86 percent due to routine vaccination says the Public Health England.

Surveillance Medical Officer of WHO, Dr. S.K Ray informed that the HPV vaccine will be available in all the District Hospitals, Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs).

The UK Government on Tuesday said it will fund the programme in England targeting the human papilloma virus. "We can now be even more confident that we will reduce cervical and other cancers in both men and women in the future", she said.

'This decision will save lives, ' BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

Tristan Almada, founder of the NOMAN is an Island: Race to End HPV campaign, added the decision is "the biggest opportunity to prevent cancer in decades". The programme is expected to vaccinate thousands of boys in England each year.

The JCVI previously claimed it was "overwhelmingly" unlikely that vaccinating boys would be cost-effective.

"Each year in Ireland at least 420 men and women are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV", said the organisation's CEO Averil Power.

The government also recently introduced a programme of HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men (MSM). It released a statement confirming this recommendation last week.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has welcomed the news made by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) that a consultation process was starting, exploring the clinical and cost-effectiveness of offering the vaccine to boys in Ireland, as well as girls.

HPV vaccination to be given to boys, government announces