The UK government has announced that adolescent boys in England, aged between 12 and 13 years, will be offered the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to protect against HPV-associated cancers.
The decision follows a positive recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The extension of the vaccine to boys follows the success of the HPV vaccination programme for girls, introduced in 2008, and the recently introduced programme for men who have sex with men.
England will now be one of a small but growing number of countries to offer HPV vaccination for both girls and boys.
The extension of the programme builds on the government’s commitment to achieve the best cancer outcomes in the world, with full roll-out expected by next Autumn.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said: “I’m pleased that adolescent boys will be offered the HPV vaccine. Almost all women under 25 have had the HPV vaccine and we’re confident that we will see a similarly high uptake in boys.
“This extended programme offers us the opportunity to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls’ programme, which has already reduced the prevalence of HPV 16 and 18, the main cancer-causing types, by over 80 per cent. We can now be even more confident that we will reduce cervical and other cancers in both men and women in the future.”