HPV ACTION URGES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO IMPLEMENT IMMEDIATELY JCVI ADVICE TO VACCINATE BOYS AGAINST HPV
HPV Action, of which the Mouth Cancer Foundation is a member, welcomes the JCVI’s (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) announcement on HPV vaccination for boys and calls on the Department of Health and Social Care to accept the JCVI’s advice and without further delay announce that boys will be included in the national HPV vaccination programme. Since the statement was made, the Welsh and Scottish Governments have announced that they will implement the JCVI’s advice.
HPV Action’s Campaign Director, Peter Barker, says “This decision is long overdue. The vaccination programme for girls began in 2008 and the government’s vaccination advisory committee (JCVI) began its assessment of whether boys should also be vaccinated in 2013. Decisions were promised for 2015 and then 2017 but postponed until now. In the meantime, about 400,000 more boys each year have been left unprotected against HPV infection and the diseases it can cause”.
HPV Action is now seeking:
- An immediate announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care that 12/13 year old boys will be included in the HPV vaccination programme. The same decision must also be made at the same time by the governments in Scotland and Wales.
- The early publication of an implementation plan for a national rollout throughout the UK at the earliest possible opportunity (September 2019 at the latest).
- A catch-up programme for boys which parallels that available for girls. This would mean that any boy in school years 8, 9, 10 and 11 can be vaccinated.
- The production of information materials targeted at boys, their parents and teachers.
- A national campaign aimed to maximise vaccine uptake in both sexes with the aim of eliminating current variations in uptake between local authority areas.
HPV vaccination for boys is not only supported by the 51 member organisations of HPV Action but also by the BMA, Cancer Research UK and many individual clinicians. Both boys and girls are now vaccinated, or soon will be, in about 20 other countries. The clinical, ethical and equity arguments for gender-neutral vaccination are overwhelming.