RSPH has expressed its disappointment and frustration that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has decided not to extend HPV vaccinations to all adolescent boys.
HPV is responsible for 5% of all cancers, and a decision not to extend the vaccination now leaves some 400,000 boys in the UK at risk from contracting the virus.
A decision to extend the programme today would have brought the UK in line with 11 other countries who currently offer universal HPV vaccinations.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive RSPH, said: “We are deeply aggrieved by the JCVI’s decision today. It seems that fundamental priorities are focused on saving money rather than saving lives. Such a simple vaccination programme has the potential to make such a big impact to health on a national scale. We hope that the government’s advisory committee reconsider this decision as soon as possible and put human health and wellbeing before cost saving.”
Peter Baker, HPV Action Campaign Director, said: “It is astonishing that the Government’s vaccination advisory committee has ignored advice from patient organisations, doctors treating men with HPV-related cancers, public health experts and those whose lives have been devastated by HPV. The decision not to vaccinate boys is about saving money not public health. HPV Action will continue to make the case for a national vaccination programme that protects men and women equally. There may also be grounds for a legal challenge on the grounds that the decision breaches equality law.”