Jersey

HPV jab will be given to boys in Jersey

Child getting an injection Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The vaccination will be offered from September 2019

A jab that protects against a cancer-causing virus will be given to boys aged 12 to 13 in Jersey.

The HPV vaccine has been offered to girls of the same age to protect against cervical cancer since 2008.

Campaigners have been calling for equal access to the jab, which also guards against cancer of the anus, penis, mouth and throat.

The decision reflects recent policy changes in England, Scotland and Wales.

The vaccination, which is given in two injections six months apart, will be offered from September 2019.

HPV is the name given to a large group of viruses, which can be caught through any kind of sexual contact with another person who already has it.

Doctors say most infections go away by themselves, but can sometimes lead to a variety of serious problems.

For boys, this includes oral, throat, penile and anal cancers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The vaccine has been offered to girls in Jersey since 2008

"There's been a reduction in the amount of HPV in the population in the UK and elsewhere and this is a clear sign that the vaccine is effective," Dr Linda Diggle, of Health and Community Services, said.

"Evidence suggests that extending the vaccination programme to boys offers a real opportunity to make HPV-related diseases an increasing rarity."

The vaccine has been offered to girls since 2008, with boys being said to benefit through herd protection.

But there is still a risk of infection in those who go on to have sex with other men or with women who have not been vaccinated.

"Offering this vaccination to boys is a very positive step," Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said.

"Extending the immunisation programme now will reduce HPV-related cancers in both men and women in the future."

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