The Oral Health Foundation is delighted by the announcement today [24 July 2018] from the Department of Health and Social Care to accept the advice of the government’s vaccination advisory committee and extend England’s HPV vaccination programme to include adolescent boys in England.
This follows the very welcome decision last week from health ministers in Wales and Scotland confirming that they would be introducing vaccinations for boys in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advising that it would be cost effective to do so.
The charity sees this as a huge step in reducing the number of mouth cancer cases in Britain and is calling for a quick implementation of the programme to help save lives.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, feels this decision will lead to hundreds of thousands of boys finally being protected from potentially deadly diseases caused by the Human Papillomavirus, including mouth cancer.
Dr Carter says: “This decision has been an incredibly long time coming and one which is undoubtedly a watershed moment in the ongoing battle against mouth cancer in the UK, alongside many other HPV related diseases, we now need a quick roll out of an effective programme.
“We want to see a plan put in place to implement the vaccine as early as possible and are giving our support to HPV Action in setting a deadline of September 2019 at the latest.
“Since 2008, girls have been offered an HPV vaccination through a school-based programme to protect against cervical cancer, but this has been proven to offer little protection for boys and men from life-threatening diseases caused by HPV; including mouth, penile and anal cancers as well as genital warts.
“We have had to wait five arduous years for this decision, with every year putting more boys at risk, and brings the UK in line with roughly 20 other countries who have already decided to protect boys alongside girls by introducing a gender-neutral HPV vaccine.
“HPV is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer; which every year more than 7,500 Brits are diagnosed with and claims more than 2,000 lives – more than testicular and cervical cancer combined.
“We believe that with the swift implementation of the vaccination programme we will see a significant reduction in these numbers.”