The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has made recommendations to extend the HPV vaccine to boys.
Currently, the HPV (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine) vaccine is offered to teenage girls only.
HIQA’s health technology assessment unit reviewed the clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of extending this programme to include vaccinating boys in their first year of secondary school.
HIQA has now advised that the National Immunisation Schedule switches from the 4-valent vaccine to the 9-valent vaccine, which protects against an additional five types of HPV, and that the vaccine is extended to boys of the same age. HIQA says that both boys and girls would have considerable health benefits from receiving the vaccine.
You can read the full assessment here.
Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has also welcomed the announcement and said the Department of Health will review the assessment report. He added that he hopes to make an announcement shortly on this proposal. You can read the press statement here.
In Northern Ireland, girls receive the vaccination in Year 9. For reliable information on the vaccine in Northern Ireland, click here and for reliable information on the HPV vaccine in the Republic of Ireland visit hpv.ie.
For the facts about HPV, consult the HSE factsheet or view this quick video. Uptake of the HPV vaccine is relevant to reducing inequalities in the incidence of cervical and head and neck cancers. However, a recent study found that schools in disadvantaged areas of Ireland were less likely to achieve high vaccination rates. Information on HPV vaccination in Northern Ireland is available here and resources to support its uptake are available here.