Monday 17 June 2019
Boys aged between 12 and 13 are to be offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for the first time to protect them against a viral infection which can cause some cancers.
This vaccine protects against infection with the more important HPV strains and has been offered free of charge to girls in Guernsey since 2008. The aim is to protect them from developing cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers in years to come. Health & Social Care is now extending this vaccination programme to boys to offer them similar protection against HPV-related cancers in later life.
This is important because, as well as causing cervical and vaginal cancers, HPV is linked to around a half of penile cancers. Furthermore, the majority of anal, throat, head and neck cancers in both sexes are linked to HPV.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said:
"I am delighted to announce the extension of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to boys. This aligns closely with our commitment to prevention and early intervention and will have a major impact on the incidence of HPV-related cancers in the future."
Jo Rocha, Health Protection Nurse, added:
"HPV vaccine has been offered to girls in Guernsey and Alderney since 2008 to help prevent them from developing cervical cancer, as well as other HPV related cancers. Boys aged between 12 and 13 will also be offered the same HPV vaccine using the same schedule of vaccination to offer them similar protection against HPV-related cancers."
Karen Belton, Immunisation Lead Nurse for Health Visitors and School Nurses, said:
"From an operational point of view, we are planning on offering HPV vaccine to boys who will be in year 8 on the 2019/2020 academic year. We are anticipating a high coverage rate, similar to what we have been experiencing with the previous HPV vaccine for girls. The vaccine will be provided alongside the school immunisation programme and is scheduled to be offered from January 2020."