Now boys will receive HPV cancer jab too
HEALTH Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that from next year boys will also receive the HPV vaccine after recommendations were made by a health watchdog.
The Health Information and Quality Authority yesterday published its recommendations following an assessment on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the HPV vaccine to boys.
Mr Harris said: ‘Funding has already been made available in the Budget to facilitate the introduction of this initiative in 2019, subject to a favourable recommendation being made in the assessment report. The content of the assessment report will be reviewed by officials in my department and I expect to make an announcement on this proposal shortly.’
HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: ‘The burden of HPV-related disease is substantial, with HPV responsible for approximately one in every 20 cases of cancer across the world. This assessment demonstrates that the HPV vaccine provides effective primary prevention against HPV infection and HPV-related disease, and that the vaccine is safe. Extending the HPV vaccine to boys provides direct protection against HPVrelated disease to boys, indirect protection to girls who have not been vaccinated and would reduce HPV-related disease and mortality in Ireland.’
Since 2010, girls in their first year of secondary school are currently offered a form of the vaccine that protects against four types of HPV. The authority also said the National Immunisation Schedule should switch to a new version of the vaccine which protects against an additional five strains of the virus.
Switching and vaccinating boys will prevent an additional 101 cases of cervical cancer over the next 20 years, according to Dr Ryan. The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has welcomed the announcement, saying this will help protect boys and girls from HPV-related infections.
President of RCPI Professor Mary Horgan said that it is essential to protect boys from cancers such as those in the head and neck, which are often caused by HPV infection.