Wales politics

Advice on boys' human papilloma virus jab 'not until 2017'

HPV Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The human papillomavirus vaccination is already offered to schoolgirls

A cancer vaccination for schoolboys is unlikely before 2017, Health Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Several Welsh organisations had called for boys to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) jab to protect them from head and neck cancers.

The vaccine is already given to young girls to prevent cervical cancers.

But Mr Drakeford said he was waiting for advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which could take another two years.

Organisations, led by charity Tenovus Cancer Care, delivered a letter to the Welsh government in June calling for the vaccination to be rolled out.

'Matter of priority'

In reply, Mr Drakeford said a "preliminary assessment" was due to be presented to the JCVI later this year, but added: "It is anticipated that final advice will not be available for some time beyond this, possibly not until 2017."

The minister said: "I will await JCVI's recommendations and consider the implications for Wales of any proposed changes to the HPV vaccination programme."

Reacting to the letter, Jon Antoniazzi of Tenovus Cancer Care, said extending the vaccination programme to include boys should be "a matter of priority".

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