The life saving vaccine that hundreds of teenage girls have received since 2008 will be extended to boys too, it was announced in July.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a leading cause of throat cancers, and as more than 30 people are diagnosed with oral cancers every day in the UK, it’s crucial that anyone who can receive the vaccines is able to have it.
Linked to around 5 percent of all cancers world wide, the HPV jab will also inoculate against some forms of cancers that affect only men.
Some of the cancers include vaginal, cervical, penile, anal and oral cancers, as well as genital warts. Oral includes both mouth and throat cancers. It also vaccinates against cervical cancer, which is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35.
Girls can have the vaccine from the age of 12 all the way up to their 18thbirthday if they missed having the vaccine in school. It’s normally offered in year 8 when school children are aged 12-13. Now, boys will also be offered the jab in the same educational year.
The HPV jab consists of two separate injections: the first routinely given in year 8, and the second given 6 – 12 months after, when the patient is in year 8 or 9. It is vital to receive both injections to be properly vaccinated against HPV.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said, “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%. We can now be even more confident that we will reduce cervical and other cancers in both men and women in the future.”