HPV jabs for boys 'not cost-effective'

Offering the HPV jab to boys would not prove to be cost-effective if there is a high enough uptake among girls, say US researchers.

Photograph:A.DEX,PUBLIPHOTO DIFFUSION/SPL
Photograph:A.DEX,PUBLIPHOTO DIFFUSION/SPL

Latest figures from the NHS Information Centre show that 70% of eligible 12 to 13 year-old girls received all three doses, and 87% one dose, in 2008/9.

However, future uptake levels could be hit after a 14-year old girl died shortly after receiving a HPV jab at school. A post-mortem has since revealed that the death was not cause by a reaction to the jab but by a malignant tumour.

Earlier this year, experts warned that the DoH may be forced to add boys to the HPV vaccination programme in order to hit the uptake levels required for herd immunity.

For this latest study, researchers from Harvard University in Boston conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare HPV vaccination of pre-adolescent girls alone with vaccination of both girls and boys.

Vaccination was considered to be value for money if the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) was in the range of £31,172 to £62,344.

Overall, they found that while the vaccination of 12-year-old girls was cost-effective, including boys into the vaccination programme surpassed the upper QALY threshold.

The researchers concluded: ‘Our results suggest that if vaccine coverage and efficacy are high among preadolescent girls, including boys in an HPV programme is unlikely to provide comparatively good value for resources.'

 

 

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