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Vaccine for boys ‘a chance to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past’

Universal human papilloma virus vaccination will boost cancer prevention in men and women 

Universal human papilloma virus vaccination will boost cancer prevention in men and women 


Picture: iStock

An announcement that the HPV vaccine is to be extended to boys in the UK has been praised by the RCN.

The college said emerging evidence suggests the vaccine prevents cancers in both sexes.

Cancer prevention

Public Health England (PHE) estimates more than 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented by extending the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to year 8 boys from September.

The vaccine programme for girls began in 2008 and since then, incidence of some types of HPV (HPV 16 and 18) infection in 16-21 year old women have fallen by 86% in England.

‘This universal programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past’

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation, Public Health England


Helen Donovan, RCN public
health lead. 

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said: 'The vaccine is clearly able to protect against many cancers and disease related to HPV and we are pleased to see this vaccine will be routinely offered to boys for the first time.’

'While the prevention of cervical cancer has been the main aim of the HPV vaccination programme, emerging evidence suggests the vaccine prevents cancers in both sexes.

'The new focus on universal vaccination will protect the population as a whole through individual and herd immunity and the college is proud to support this.'

‘A very important step’

PHE head of immunisation 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 men and women in the future.'

British Medical Association board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar added: '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.’


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