Now boys will re­ceive HPV cancer jab too

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Ro­nan Smyth

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.

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