From September 2019, year 8 boys in Wirral schools will be offered the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for the first time.
Girls have been offered the HPV vaccine free from the NHS since 2008. So far, 10 million doses of HPV vaccine have been given to young women in this country meaning over 80% of women aged 15 to 24 have received the vaccine.
Building on the success of the girls’ programme, Public Health England will now offer all young people, aged 12 and 13, the opportunity to safeguard themselves against HPV, starting when schools return after the summer holidays.
Since the introduction of HPV vaccination, infections of some types of HPV (HPV 16/18) in 16 to 21 year old women have reduced by 86% in England. Similarly, diagnoses of genital warts have declined by 90% in 15 to 17 year old girls and 70% in 15 to 17 year old boys due to the HPV vaccine.
Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for adult care and health, welcomed the new scheme, saying: “I’m thrilled to see the HPV vaccine being offered to young people across the board, in Wirral as well as nationally.
“I encourage all parents of all eligible young people to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine.”
Parents of young people aged 12 and 13 should look out for information from their children’s school about the vaccine and timings for the jab. The second dose can be given anytime between 6 to 24 months after. Two doses are needed to be fully protected.
Speaking of the importance of receiving the vaccine, Dr Paula Cowan, Chair of Wirral CCG and local GP, said: “Offering the vaccine to boys will not only protect them but will also prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in girls - reducing the overall burden of these cancers in the future for all.
“It’s important not to delay vaccination, as it may be less effective as adolescents get older.
“If your child misses out on getting the vaccination for any reason, you can talk to a school nurse or immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.”
More information about HPV vaccination for parents and their children is available online here.
For further info about Wirral’s school nursing service, click here.