RCPCH responds to HPV extension

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have released a statement today to advise that the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination should be extended to adolescent boys at the same age as girls.

The HPV vaccine has been routinely offered to girls at secondary school at the age of 12-13 since 2008. It is free until they turn 18. 

It is predicted that vaccinating boys as well as girls will prevent additional cases of HPV attributable cervical and non-cervical cancer in women, and additional cases of HPV attributable non-cervical cancer in men.

JCVI is an expert scientific committee which advises the UK Government on matters relating to vaccination and immunisation. The Government has stated that they will carefully consider the advice given.

Responding to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s statement on extending the HPV vaccination programme to adolescent boys, Professor Helen Bedford from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

“The RCPCH is pleased to see progress in discussions regarding the extension of the HPV vaccine to boys. Many countries now offer the vaccine to boys as well as girls to protect against cancer and genital warts. In the UK the HPV vaccine has been offered to girls for 10 years and whether this should also be rolled out for boys has been under consideration for some years.

"This statement from the JCVI announces that under the current rules for estimating cost effectiveness, rolling out HPV vaccine to include all boys in UK is still not cost effective and on this basis they cannot recommend extending the HPV vaccination programme to include boys. However, in view of the long interval between infection with HPV and development of disease, they are supportive of changing the methods for calculating cost effectiveness to consider HPV vaccine for boys. If the proposed new methods were used, it is likely that the programme would be cost effective and then they would advise its introduction.

"A review of cost effectiveness modelling for vaccination programmes is soon to be concluded and this is one of the issues that is being considered as part of that review.”