The government has confirmed that boys in England will be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus in line with recent recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The vaccine will protects men from HPV-related diseases – such as oral, throat, penile and anal cancer – and will also help reduce the overall number of cervical cancers in women through ‘herd immunity’.
Girls aged 11 to 13 have been vaccinated against the HPV virus in the UK since 2008, and earlier this year the government announced that the programme would be extended to include men who have sex with men.
The programme is now expected to vaccinate thousands of boys aged 12 to 13 years old in England each year.
“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,” noted public health minister Steve Brine.
“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.”
“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 percent,” added Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England.