- Following debate in Parliament yesterday on HPV Vaccinations tabled by Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green) (Con) MP (full transcript here > http://bit.ly/1OcTrqm)
- The signatories include the director of the World Health Organisation collaborating centre for oral cancer, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and the vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons.13 leading clinicians, scientists and academics with a special interest in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the diseases it causes are hoping the parliamentary debate and a letter sent to Jeremy Hunt this week will accelerate a decision on HPV vaccination for adolescent boys.
Following debate in Parliament yesterday, MPs questioned the delay and roll out of the current HPV vaccination policy and why it had been characterised by delay after delay. Sir Paul Beresford, Member for Mole Valley, explained "I fully support vaccination for men who have sex with men. However, vaccination programmes for boys and girls would lead to herd immunity and in time pick up that group as well. I understand that that would cost about another £22 million per year more than the cost now for girls. That is small beer when set against the £58 million spent on treating genital warts and is well below the £300 million spent on head and neck cancer treatment—and we must add in the pain and suffering of cancer victims. As I said to the Minister in July 2014, “it is not fair, ethical or socially responsible to have a public health policy that leaves 50% of the population vulnerable”— [Official Report, 1 July 2014; Vol. 583, c. 866.] to HPV and the dreadful diseases that so often relate to it.'
Jon Nicholson, Member for East Dunbartonshire said: Immunisation (for MSM) will need to go beyond sexual health clinics. Those who do not attend such clinics will not be immunised and many may mistakenly believe that they do not need to be vaccinated if they use condoms. Significantly, the optimum age for men to receive the vaccine is as 12 to 13-year-old boys—in other words, at school, at the same time as their female classmates. That is the logical next step.
Andrew Gwynne, Shadow Minister for Public Health, ‘The JCVI began its assessment on whether boys should be included in the national vaccination programme in 2013. A decision was originally expected last year, but was subsequently rescheduled for 2017. Experts in the field are already convinced that boys should be vaccinated, and I urge the Minister to ask the JCVI to make its recommendation this year, so that implementation can begin as soon as possible. I am concerned that the UK is in danger of being left behind other countries in its approach to HPV vaccination.
Under the auspices of HPV Action, the experts have written to the Secretary of State for Health stating: ‘With each year that passes, some 400,000 more boys are left unprotected. Even if a vaccination programme for boys does start in 2020, over 2.5 million boys will by then have missed out on vaccination in the period since 2013. We strongly recommend that JCVI is allocated the resources necessary to enable a decision to be made in the current year.’
In the experts’ view, vaccinating boys not only makes sense on a public health level but there is now also significant economic evidence to indicate that vaccinating both girls and boys will be cost-Effective.
They add: 'We are aware that an increasing number of countries – Australia, Austria, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, the USA, the German region of Saxony and the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Sicily – now recommend HPV vaccination for both sexes. The UK has an opportunity to be part of an international effort to eradicate HPV- related diseases as well as protect its own population better.'
HPV Action’s Campaign Director Peter Baker said: ‘The 13 experts who have signed the letter to Jeremy Hunt calling for swift action on HPV vaccination for boys are really just the tip of the iceberg – the majority of health professionals now support the vaccination of boys as do a large number of patient groups and public health organisations. We also know that most parents support HPV vaccination for boys. We hope ministers will listen and urge the JCVI to complete its assessment as soon as possible.’
The letter sent to Jeremy Hunt has been signed by:
- Mr Stephen Cannon MA, MCh(Orth), FRCS, FRCS(Ed), Vice President, Royal College of Surgeons of England
- Dr Elizabeth Carlin, President, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV
- Mr Ben Challacombe BSc. MS FRCS (Urol), Consultant Urological Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Kings College London
- Professor Giampiero Favato, Director of the Institute for Leadership and Management in Health, Kingston University London
- Professor Nigel Hunt BDS, MSc, PhD, FDSRCS, FDSRCPS, FDSRCSE, FHEA, FGDP(UK), DOrth, MOrth RCS, Dean, Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College Surgeons of England
- Professor Sean Kehoe MD DCH FRCOG FHEA, Lawson Tait Professor Gynaecological Cancer, University of Birmingham, Senior Research Fellow, Peters College, University of Oxford
- Professor Mark Lawler PhD, FRCPath, Dean of Education, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University Belfast
- Professor M A O Lewis PhD, BDS, FDSRCS, FDSRCPS, FDSRCSE, FRCPath, FFGDP(UK), FHEA Dean, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University and Director of the Clinical Board for Dentistry, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board
- Professor Eilís McCaughan, Professor in Cancer Care, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University
- Dr John McSorley, Consultant Physician, Sexual Health & HIV Services, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
- Professor Tony Narula FRCS, President, ENT UK
- Professor Crispian Scully CBE, DSc, MD, PhD, FMedSci, MDS, MRCS, BSc, FDSRCS, FDSRCPS, FFDRCSI, FDSRCSE, FRCPath, FHEA, FUCL, DChD, DMed(HC), Dhc Emeritus Professor, University College London
- Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya OBE BDS, FDSRCS, Dip Oral Med, PhD, DSc Emeritus Professor of Oral Medicine and Experimental Pathology, King's College London, Director, WHO Collaborating Center on Oral Cancer