Responding to the JCVI's (Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations) recommendations that boys should also be vaccinated for HPV, BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:
"This is an important moment for public health for which the BMA has long campaigned and we’re glad to see the JCVI (The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations) recognise all children should be immunised against HPV1 reducing the risk for hundreds of thousands of people of contracting cancer.
"It makes that sense we are following the lead set by countries like Australia, Canada and the USA and introducing universal HPV vaccination. School aged girls have routinely been vaccinated against HPV which is known to cause cervical cancer and this has had a great impact in reducing its prevalence, but boys also need protection as more evidence emerges of the relationship between HPV and cancers that affect men.
"Current measures such as offering vaccinations at sexual health clinics to men who have sex with men aged 16 to 45 are not effective in combatting the risks this disease poses as they're often already sexually active and it's too late to prevent. This won't save money for the NHS.
"In order to properly protect people against HPV infection, this will be added to the school immunisation schedule as soon as possible."
Notes to Editors
1 - HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the name of a group of sexually-transmitted viruses that affect the skin and moist membrane lining the body including the cervix, anus, mouth and throat.
- Read the BMA briefing on the HPV vaccination here.
- Read the JCVI statement here.