The UK government has ignored the serious health risk concerns and announced that boys aged 12 and 13 are to be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV)
The decision comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended last week that the controversial HPV vaccination, given to girls to protect against cervical cancer, should be extended to boys.
The move also followed growing calls for the inoculation programme to be expanded, despite the growing number of horrific side effects that have been reported.
The Guardian reports: HPV has emerged as the leading cause of throat cancers and is linked to 5% of all cancers worldwide, including some that affect only men.
Announcing the decision, the public health minister Steve Brine said: “As a father to a son, I understand the relief that this will bring to parents. We are committed to leading a world-class vaccination programme and achieving some of the best cancer outcomes in the world – I am confident these measures today will bring us one step further to achieving this goal.”
HPV is linked to cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oral (mouth and throat) cancers, as well as genital warts.
More than 30 people in Britain are diagnosed with oral cancers every day, with incidence rates increasing by 23% over the last decade. It is one of the fastest rising types of cancer and has a higher incidence among men.
The HPV vaccination was developed a decade ago and has been used to inoculate UK schoolgirls since 2008, saving hundreds of lives, according to Brine.
Girls are offered the vaccine from the age of 12 or 13, although there is an opportunity to be given the vaccine up to the age of 18. A vaccination programme was recently introduced for men who have sex with other men.’
Dr Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisations at Public Health England, said: “Almost all women under 25 have had the HPV vaccine and we’re confident that we will see a similarly high uptake in boys.