HPV jabs for boys 'highly unlikely to be cost-effective' say DH advisers

DH advisers reviewing the HPV vaccination programme have concluded it is 'highly unlikely to be cost-effective' to extend the scheme to include adolescent boys as well as girls.

HPV jab: DH could continue with girls-only vaccination policy (Photo: Consolidated Scotland)
HPV jab: DH could continue with girls-only vaccination policy (Photo: Consolidated Scotland)

The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), which has yet to publish its final recommendation, said in an interim statement that studies ‘consistently show’ boys are afforded ‘considerable herd protection’ when there is high uptake of the vaccine in girls.

It added that extending the programme to boys was ‘highly unlikely’ to be cost-effective in the UK, where uptake in girls is over 85% – but stopped short of making an official recommendation at this stage.

Once the JCVI makes its formal recommendation, this will be put to ministers who have the final say on whether to amend the current programme.

The JCVI has been considering whether to include boys on the scheme – which launched for girls in 2008 – since 2014.

It said evidence ‘clearly indicated’ that HPV is linked to cancers that affect men as well as women, and that extending the programme would provide them direct protection against these cancers.

But it added that – ‘while there are some additional population-level benefits’ to including boys – doing so was unlikely to be cost-effective in the UK.

HPV vaccination

A pilot scheme to vaccinate men who have sex with men (MSM) was launched last year, as they are considered less likely to receive herd protection from vaccinating girls.

Detractors have warned that not vaccinating boys as a matter of course leaves them open to contracting the virus if they have sex with older women and women from countries that do not offer vaccination as well as other men.

GPonline has previously reported that GPs almost unanimously support extending the programme to boys.

The JCVI said: ‘This statement sets out the key evidence and describes the considerations and interim position of the JCVI.

‘The JCVI is consulting on its interim findings to ensure that the most appropriate and up-to-date evidence has been used, and that reasonable assumptions have been made where evidence is limited or unavailable.

‘Once the consultation is completed, the JCVI will develop and publish its final advice.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs call for greater representation on ICSs after councils seek more control

GPs call for greater representation on ICSs after councils seek more control

GP leaders have reiterated the need for a ‘strong voice at all levels’ of integrated...

How to deal with patients who refuse to wear face coverings

How to deal with patients who refuse to wear face coverings

The MDU's Dr Kathryn Leask offers advice on what to do if someone entering the practice...

16- and 17-year-olds to receive first COVID-19 jab

16- and 17-year-olds to receive first COVID-19 jab

All 16- and 17-year-olds in the UK will be invited for a first dose of the COVID-19...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

Stopping work transfer from hospitals tops list of GP demands to tackle workload

Stopping work transfer from hospitals tops list of GP demands to tackle workload

Stopping hospitals dumping tasks on general practice tops a list of measures GPs...

New NHS chief must seize opportunity to ‘reset relationship’ with GPs, BMA warns

New NHS chief must seize opportunity to ‘reset relationship’ with GPs, BMA warns

NHS England has the perfect opportunity to ‘reset its relationship’ with general...