30 September 2019

Teenage boys will be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for the first time as the roll out across British schools begins this term.

Boys aged 12/13 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will be offered the free vaccine in secondary schools, along with boys aged 11/12 in high schools in Scotland.

HPV is a group of viruses that affect the skin and moist areas around the body.  There are around 200 types of HPV and thankfully the vast majority are harmless.  However, some types are dangerous and can cause genital warts and even cancer.

Around 5% of all cancers are caused by HPV, including; mouth, cervical, anal and penile cancer.

Teenage girls have been able to get the HPV jab in the UK since 2008 but now boys aged 11-13 will be offered it too.

The Oral Health Foundation is encouraging all parents of eligible boys (and girls) to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says: “As a keen and committed supporter of universal HPV vaccination for a number of years, we are extremely pleased that the hard work of so many campaigners has paid off.

“The programme has already been highly successful in reducing the number of HPV infections.  Now it has been extended to boys, many terrible diseases can all-but be eliminated.

“Over the coming years, the lives of thousands of lives will be saved by this vaccination.  Whether you are the parent of a girl or boy, please make sure they receive the HPV vaccination without delay.

“As the vaccine gets less effective as teenagers get older, we recommend having the vaccination straight away.”

Two doses of the HPV vaccine are needed for it to be effective.

The charity is keen to communicate that the vaccine is free from the NHS for children in Year 8 and is very safe.

If you would like more information on the vaccine, and why it’s so important that boys are now also being offered the vaccine, please head to www.jabsfortheboys.uk.

Alternatively, you can speak to your dental team about the vaccination at any point, including at your next appointment.