HPV vaccination programme will expand to cover boys from September

Boys aged 12 and 13 will be offered HPV vaccinations on the NHS from September - 11 years after the health service began vaccinating girls in 2008.

HPV vaccination (Photo: Dr P. Marazzi/Science Photo Library)
HPV vaccination (Photo: Dr P. Marazzi/Science Photo Library)

The government confirmed last summer that the vaccination programme would be expanded to boys, following recommendations from advisers on the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) that there were 'clear health benefits in vaccinating boys'.

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that the expansion to boys will take place from September, with boys in school year 8 in 2019/20 the first to receive the jab.

PHE believes the expanded HPV vaccination programme could prevent 100,000 cases of cancer by 2058, including 64,000 cases of cervical cancer and 50,000 other cancers.

HPV vaccination

PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: 'This universal programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls’ programme.

'Offering the vaccine to boys will not only protect them but will also prevent more cases of HPV related cancers in girls and reduce the overall burden of these cancers in both men and women in the future.'

Public health minister Seema Kennedy said: 'The success of the HPV vaccine programme for girls is clear and by extending it to boys we will go a step further to help us prevent more cases of HPV-related cancer every year.'

Polling has suggested that the vast majority of GPs back the expansion of HPV vaccination to boys, and the move has been welcomed by both the BMA and RCGP.

Cancer prevention

BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said: 'The BMA has for a long time been calling for the HPV vaccination programme to be extended to boys in the UK and the confirmation that this will go ahead in September is very welcome as it will undoubtedly reduce the risk of young men contracting cancers linked to the virus in adult life.

'Universal HPV vaccination is the most effective way of preventing HPV-related infection and disease. Given the growing body of evidence that HPV is also responsible for a range of cancers that can affect men, this is a very important step.'

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'There is very strong evidence that shows the HPV vaccine can protect people from a virus that can trigger a wide range of cancers that affect both men and women, so it is vital that as many eligible boys and girls as possible get inoculated.

'We are pleased that the HPV vaccine will be given to year 8 boys, as well as girls, from September – this is something the RCGP has long called for.'

HPV vaccination for boys will take place across the UK from September.

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