Roll out of HPV jabs to boys begins
It is great to hear reports that the roll-out of HPV vaccines to boys in schools is underway since the start of the school term.
Health officials have said tens of thousands of cases of cancer will be prevented under the programme to give boys aged 12 and 13 the jab as well as girls.
Girls have been offered the vaccination through their schools since 2008 to protect against cervical cancer, largely caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
The vaccine also protects against many other forms of cancer including throat cancers, which have been rising significantly among men.
Scientists hope that the vaccination programme could lead to the eventual eradication of cervical cancer for good and public health officials have been encouraging parents to ensure their teenage children have the vaccination.
Already there are encouraging signs as the number of cases of HPV infections in the age groups vaccinated have fallen by 86%.
Campaigners are also calling for the HPV vaccine programme to be extended to older boys and young men up to the age of 25.
The Teenage Cancer Trustsays it is unfair that older boys and men who want the immunisation would have to pay around £150 per dose privately to be vaccinated.
The TCT says results from a survey of 2,000 people showed 76% of boys and young men would want the HPV vaccine if it was offered for free – but only one in three would be willing to pay.
It seems the demand is clearly there – so there may be more campaigning to do!