Dental associations have jointly written to the Government calling for the HPV vaccine to be extended to girls and boys.
The British Dental Association (BDA), the Faculty of Deneral Dental Practice (UK) (FGDP(UK)) and the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, have jointly written to the Department of Health and Social Care before a meeting on HPV vaccines on the 6 June.
HPV is linked with around one in 20 cancers, despite this vaccines in the UK are only currently available to girls.
‘HPV-related cancers affecting the mouth and throat have a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives, so it’s frustrating for dentists, who are often the first to detect them, knowing how easily they could have been prevented,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said.
‘We urge the Government to consider the human as well as financial cost of these devastating but preventable diseases when making a decision on this issue.
‘There is no logic – or fairness – in only protecting half of the population against this terrible virus.
‘It is time for a universal vaccination programme.’
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Previously the JCVI refused to extend the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine to all boys.
At the time the committee admitted that extending the programme would provide protection further protection to those males, but the programme was not cost effective.
The jointly-written letter calls for blanket immunisation against HPV, calling it ‘morally indefensible’ to allow thousands of men to develop preventible cancers.
‘The current girls-only policy is costing lives, and leaving 400,000 more boys needlessly unprotected with every passing year,’ Dr Mick Horton, dean of the FGDP (UK), said.
‘The fight to reverse the increasing incidence of oral cancer hangs on the Government’s decision, and we urge ministers to listen to the dentists and other health professionals who see the devastation that HPV-related cancers wreak on patients and their families.’