The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK to include boys in the HPV vaccination programme.
Speaking today, Irish Cancer Society CEO Averil Power said, “The HPV vaccine is a lifesaving vaccination that has the potential to eliminate HPV related cancers. While we currently offer it to girls in Ireland to protect them against cervical cancer, the next step must be to give it to boys so that they are also protected from cancers caused by HPV infection."
“While 335 women are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year, 85 men in Ireland also develop a cancer which could potentially be prevented by a simple and safe vaccination."
Currently boys can avail of the HPV vaccine through their GP, for a fee, often as much as €300. The Irish Cancer Society believes "it is time to address this inequality and for Ireland to freely offer protection against HPV-caused cancers for boys and girls,” she said.
“While huge progress has been made in increasing HPV vaccine uptake rates in girls in Ireland, we will not be able to eliminate the effects of HPV without rolling out the programme to boys as well," Power added.
Currently in Ireland, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) are assessing whether the vaccine should be made available to boys as part of the national vaccination programme.
The Society expects a recommendation to the Department of Health on the matter in 2018.
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