Year 8 boys to be offered free HPV vaccine

The move by Public Health England could prevent over 100,000 cancers. The RCPCH's Immunisation Expert responds.

From September this year, 12 and 13-year-old boys will be offered the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for the first time.

Worldwide, about 5% of all cancers are linked to the HPV virus.

In response to the move by Public Health England (PHE), Dr David Elliman, Immunisation Expert for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“The UK programme to vaccinate girls against HPV infection has been very successful. It is estimated that by 2058, it will have prevented over 64,000 cases of cervical cancer and we have already seen a major reduction in cases of ano-genital warts. While, because of herd immunity,  there has also been a reduction in HPV infection in males, the most effective way to protect them is for them to have the vaccine themselves. Therefore, we welcome the introduction of the vaccination programme for Year 8 boys in September. In time, this will lead to a significant reduction in cancers of the anus, penis and head and neck. The latter is currently increasing in incidence, but this trend will be turned around as the vaccination programme takes effect in the future.”