Call for ‘swift implementation’ of HPV jab for boys
Dental nurses have joined the call for a swift implementation of a programme to offer HPV jabs to boys following yesterday's advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Many believe the recommendation made by the JCVI, which has been under consideration since 2013, could save thousands of lives every year due to the vaccination’s ability to prevent HPV-related mouth cancer, as well as other life-threatening diseases.
The Welsh and Scottish governments have already announced that they will implement the JCVI’s advice.
The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) and the Society of British Dental Nurses (SBDN) added their voices to the call for health ministers to follow the JCVI’s recommendation and implement an effective vaccination programme swiftly.
BADN president Hazel Coey said: 'I listened recently to a speaker at the Dentistry Show’s Dental Nurse Forum, who explained how the HPV virus caused him to have cancer of the head and neck, changing his life forever – the horrors of the surgery as a result of the disease, the unspeakable life changes and the financial burden that he endured, leading him to thoughts of suicide, not to mention the costs to the NHS. As President of BADN, as well as a mother and grandmother of boys, I greatly welcome this decision to vaccinate our boys and eradicate this heartache.'
Chair of the SBDN, Emma Riley, said: 'This is a fantastic move in the right direction – anything that can reduce the risk can only be a good move.'
Rachel and Tim Parsons, SBDN associate ambassadors, shared their delight, too. Mum-of-five Rachel, who herself is a mouth cancer survivor, said: 'This means that teenage boys will have the same life choices as girls – we are delighted, having already had our boys vaccinated.'
The JCVI has recommended extending immunisation to adolescent boys alongside girls after concluding that a gender-neutral programme is highly likely cost-effective in the UK.
This follows recent recommendations from the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organisation and Cochrane Group who have all advised that the HPV vaccination is safe and effective.
The Oral Health Foundation and the BDA also welcomed the news.
HPV Action, a collaborative partnership of 51organisations, including the BADN and the SBDN, campaigned strongly for change.
Campaign director Peter Baker said: 'The decision to vaccinate boys against HPV is great news for boys and their parents. It will also benefit those girls who for whatever reason have not been vaccinated against HPV. We have waited a long time for this change in policy and it is now imperative that there are no more delays and no more boys left at risk. HPV Action believes it is entirely realistic for boys throughout the UK to be vaccinated from September 2019.'
Author: Julie Bissett