HPV vaccine available to boys from September this year

hpvPublic Health England (PHE) is extending the HPV vaccine to 12 to 13-year-old boys from September this year.

HPV causes 5% of all cancers and is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers.

It’s hoped this programme, together with the current vaccination for girls, could prevent more than 100,000 cancer cases by 2058.

‘A universal HPV programme will offer protection to all children from life-changing conditions like throat cancer,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

‘With uptake among girls in decline, Ministers need to cut through the noise, and make a clear and compelling case.

‘Online and off parents are being bombarded with fake news and bad science.

‘We need real investment in a hard-nosed, evidenced-based approach, that pulls no punches with the myth-makers.’

No catch-up programme

PHE has also decided not to offer a catch-up programme to schoolboys in years nine to 13.

The FGDP(UK) has reacted in dismay to this decision, which will leave a million schoolboys unvaccinated.

‘Dentists see the devastation that oral cancers wreak on patients and their families,’ Ian Mills, dean of the FGDP(UK), said.

‘It’s great news that 12-year-old boys will finally start getting the HPV vaccine this year.

‘However, the decision not to offer a catch-up programme is wrong-headed and will lead to more needless deaths.

‘In the UK, we spend over £400m a year on cancer research, yet we have a vaccine which provides effective immunisation against a number of cancer-causing strains of HPV – and we’re not making the most of it.

‘The opportunity must be seized to vaccinate as many boys as possible while they are still at school.

‘I only hope that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide to do the right thing and protect all their schoolchildren when implementing their own programmes.’

HPV vaccine

Last year the government decided to extend HPV vaccinations to all teenage boys and girls.

Since 2008, the vaccination was only given to teenage girls because HPV can cause cervical cancer.

However the government gave the go-ahead for vaccines to be extended to boys on the NHS.

‘Protecting boys from HPV would be a welcome sign that ministers are finally willing to walk the walk on prevention,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said at the time.

‘Over 30 people in Britain are diagnosed with oral cancer every day, and dentists are often the first to spot the tell-tale signs.

‘We now have an historic opportunity to protect all our children from the life changing and often fatal diseases HPV can cause.

‘Dither and delay on gender neutral vaccination has cost lives.’

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Comments (1)

In order to gain informed consent, it would be worth balancing the positives with this information, published in the BMJ in June 2019.


“In her thoughtful analysis, Dr. Chandler discusses the difficulties in HPV vaccine adverse event pharmacovigilance due to the non-specific nature of the serious dysautonomia symptoms reported to the surveillance agencies [1].

In our critical review published in 2017, we described that serious adverse event signals were already present in the largest phase III randomized HPV vaccine trials. Nevertheless, these signals were either ignored or minimized by the investigators [2]. Compared to 2871 women older than 25 years receiving aluminum placebo, the group of 2881 women injected with the bivalent HPV vaccine had more deaths in the four year follow-up period (14 vs. 3, p = 0.012). The authors downplayed this statistically significant difference, instead highlighting the fact that a post-hoc unblinded review ruled that no deaths were related to vaccination [3]. A Cochrane meta-analysis confirmed the higher fatality rate in the follow-up period among mid-adult women receiving HPV vaccine (relative risk = 2.36, 95%CI 1.1 to 5.0; participants = 10,737; randomized studies = 3, with no differences between different vaccines. The meta-analysis authors state that the high fatality rate may be a “chance occurrence since there was no pattern either in the causes of death or in the timing of the occurrence of death” [4]. This appears to be a tenuous argument, there is no known chronic disease ending with a similar cause or timing of death. In large randomized trials, the post-hoc unblinded expert opinion should not overrule the hard statistical data.

A safe vaccine should not have an adverse event biological gradient. Nine-valent HPV vaccine has more than twice the virus-like particles and aluminum adjuvant of the 4-valent dose. In the largest HPV vaccine trial (14,149 participants), those individuals receiving the 9-valent dose had more vaccine-related systemic adverse events, 29.5% vs 27.3% (our calculated p value = 0.003), and more serious systemic adverse events (3.3% vs. 2.6%, our calculated p value = 0.01) than those receiving the 4-valent dose [5]. The authors (and reviewers) ignored these crucial statistical differences [2]. Compared to the 4-valent dose, the 9-valent HPV vaccine number needed to seriously harm is 140. (95% CI 79 – 653) [2].

A similar post- HPV vaccination syndrome of neuropathic pain and dysautonomia has been reported by independent clinicians in different places, circumstances, and times [6]. As described by Chandler, the largest world drug adverse events database (VIGIBASE) received similar dysautonomia symptoms clusters reports after HPV vaccination [7].

In view of the mounting scientific data questioning HPV vaccine security, implementation of the precautionary principle appears in order.”

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