School boys will soon be given cancer vaccine

Boys in Year Eight will get free HPV vaccines on the NHS

"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", said Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy.

It's believed that 5 per cent of all cancers are liked to the HPV virus, including cervical, penile, anal and genital cancers, which this vaccination can protect against.

Boys who are 12 years or over will be eligible to get vaccinated from the beginning of the school year.

In a bid to reduce the number of cancer cases in the United Kingdom, boys will be offered the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the government has announced.

"Over the next 40 years it's expected that many, many thousands of HPV related cancers will be prevented". The virus has also been linked to some forms of head and neck cancers.

Currently, ten million doses of the HPV vaccine have been given to young women in the United Kingdom, resulting in over 80% of women aged 15-24 having received it. Australia, which was the first country to introduce a nationwide HPV vaccination programme in 2007, is on track to eliminate it within 20 years.

Teenage girls have been offered the HPV vaccination for free since 2008, but now teenage boys in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will have the option to have the jab too. This is why a universal vaccination programme is so important, as not only will it normalise this very common virus and reduce existing inequalities, it will protect many more people from developing cancer and save lives'.

Modelling produced by the University of Warwick estimates that by 2058 in the United Kingdom the HPV vaccine now being used may have prevented up to 64,138 HPV-related cervical cancers and 49,649 other HPV-related cancers. That would include some 30,000 cancer cases in males.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, 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". This is about five per cent of all cancers worldwide.

Boys will need two doses of the jab for full protection.

"It's pleasing to see the United Kingdom follow the example of other countries like Australia, where the vaccine has been implemented for girls since 2007 and for boys since 2013".

A total of 10 million dose of the HPV vaccine have been given to young women, meaning 80 per of those age 15 to 24 have received it.

"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".

"The government now needs to work with the NHS and local authorities to ensure that we maintain efforts to actively communicate the important health benefits of this vaccine to parents and adolescents. The latter is now increasing in incidence, but this trend will be turned around as the vaccination program takes effect in the future", BBC quoted him. If they miss out on the vaccination for any reason they should talk to their school nurse/immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.

Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with HPV infections, as is the case with other sexually transmitted infections.

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