Health minister backs HPV vaccination


Jane Ellison has backed giving all boys the HPV vaccination

A health minister has hinted that she backs giving all boys the HPV vaccine to cut rising rates of mouth cancer, with a decision due next year.

Jane Ellison told MPs that she understood calls for the jab to be universal among adolescents and revealed she had held talks with Public Health England officials about the move.

The comments came as the minister announced that the first gay men had received the vaccination, under a pilot scheme that got underway in two clinics this week.

Around 40,000 men who have sex with men (MSM) will be vaccinated, after growing alarm over cancers of the mouth, throat, neck and head, as well as penile and anal cancer.

Herd immunity

There is mounting evidence that many are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) – and that giving the vaccine to all year eight girls does not create sufficient ‘herd immunity’.

Meanwhile, the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is investigating whether to extend the vaccine to all boys, with its verdict due early in 2017.

Answering a Commons debate, Mrs Ellison said: ‘I understand the wish for it to be available to all adolescents regardless of gender.

‘The JCVI is reconsidering its initial advice on this and modelling is under way to inform its consideration.

‘We will look at that as a priority when we get it.

‘I recognise the frustration that people have expressed and I have talked personally to Public Health England officials who are involved in the modelling work.’

The minister said money was already available to extend the vaccination programme if the JCVI said yes, adding: ‘The government has always acted on its recommendations.’

‘Hideous reading’

The move would delight leading dentists, including Sir Paul Beresford, the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on dentistry, who again called for it during the debate.

Sir Paul said: ‘The statistics on head and neck cancer related to HPV make for hideous reading.

‘Up to 70% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV.

‘In addition, recent research has found HPV in nearly 20% of large periapical dental abscesses – not as the cause, but probably as a co-contributor to the infection.’

Sir Paul said the annual cost of the HPV vaccine for boys and girls – about £22m – would be ‘small beer’ set against the £300m-a-year bill for treating head and neck cancers.

The MP has previously warned that dentists face the risk of being sued by angry patients, if they fail to spot mouth cancers.


During the debate, Mrs Ellison acknowledged criticism that England was not going as far as Scotland and Wales, who will vaccinate all under-45 men who have gay sex and attend sexual advice clinics.

However, she defended the trial, saying: ‘I was somewhat disappointed by some of the stakeholders’ comments, particularly talk of stalling or small pilots.

‘This is a large-scale pilot that should eventually reach up to 40,000 MSM – more than 35% of those who attend genito-urinary medicine and HIV clinics annually.

‘It will have a good geographical spread, including areas with the highest MSM populations, as well as rural areas.’


  1. 1

    This vaccine has never been proven to prevent a single case of cancer and it will be decades before we find out. Cases of cervical cancer in developed countries using Pap screening are 9/100,000. Deaths have come down from 8 to just 2/100,000 over the last 40 years with no vaccine and current uptake of screening of just 80%. Screening is still necessary even after vaccination. There are over 100 strains of HPV and some scientists expect other strains to replace those that are targeted by the vaccine.

    In the meantime thousands of girls are being seriously disabled and their lives ruined by the adverse reactions. In the UK 20,503 adverse reactions have been reported by Yellow Card, including 8 with fatal outcome (data obtained by FOIA request to MHRA). Even the manufacturers admit huge numbers of serious adverse reactions during the clinical trials.

  2. 2

    The European Medicines Agency recently reviewed the safety of the HPV vaccine. It stated ‘reports of serious adverse reactions did not show a consistent pattern regarding time-to-onset following vaccination, they appear to have totally ignored the evidence provided by the UK Association of HPV Injured Daughters (AHVID) which reported that a questionnaire completed by 94 member families indicated that:
    • 27 girls (31% ) had adverse reactions on the same day as the vaccination, many of them suffrering immediately, within minutes.
    • 12 girls (14%) had adverse reactions after just 1 dose
    • 19 girls (22%) had adverse reactions after just 2 doses (some of these had reactions also to the 1st dose
    • 14 girls had adverse reactions after the 3rd dose (and some of these had earlier reactions)
    • At least 4 girls (4%) had adverse reactions after each of 3 doses. Health professionals had indicated that the vaccine is safe and the adverse reactions suffered were not recognised as side effects of the vaccine. Initial symptoms were often ‘generally unwell, flu-like, tired, aches and pains’. With each dose the severity increased and day-by-day the severity increased. With some it was eventually several weeks before these symptoms developed into collapse with total fatigue and sleeping up to 23 hours each day.

  3. 3

    Well said Steve. My daughter is one of those girls. thank you for trying to do what all parents who have daughters and sons globally that have been affected, raise awareness and stop other parents being affected.

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