The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has welcomed the announcement that the Department of Health has commissioned the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake an assessment to determine if the HPV vaccine should be extended to boys.
However, the IMO is questioning the need for an assessment at all, “given that medical evidence already proves the vaccination is highly effective”.
Reacting to the announcement, Dr Ann Hogan, president of the IMO said: “Boys need the HPV vaccine too. Many doctors think we should already be vaccinating young boys as part of the national immunisation programme.
“While the IMO welcomes the focus of attention on the need to vaccinate boys, we strongly argue that boys deserve the same protection as young girls against HPV.
“The conversation should be about action to include boys in the programme and how this will be rolled out, rather than an assessment on whether boys should be included.
“Research shows that many of the cancers caused by HPV infection in both men and women such as anal, genital and throat cancers can be prevented by the HPV vaccination.
“There is no argument as far the IMO is concerned, boys need protection and should be included.”
Acknowledging the fact that the number of girls availing of the vaccine has almost halved over the past two years, Dr Hogan said: “We need a highly effective communications strategy to inform parents of the medical facts around the success and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“We need a schools education programme to educate our children about how to reduce the risks of contracting HPV.
“There has been a steady erosion of confidence in and uptake of the vaccine based on irresponsible scare mongering and if uptake continues to decline it will have serious consequences for all our young people.
“Additional resources and funding across clinical services, communications and health promotion are essential for the delivery of the national vaccination programme.”