Unfair that only girls get the vaccine for free

VaccinationVaccination.Photo: pixabay.com

The HPV vaccine can also protect boys against cancer. But today girls only get it for free.

From November 2016 women born in 1991 or later are offered free a vaccine against the HPV virus, protecting them against cervical cancer. Girls in the 7th grade have ever since 2009 been offered the vaccine.

But what you likely do not know is that it also may protect against other types of cancers – including some who affect boys.

Hits elsewhere

So far, only women are getting the vaccine for free, although boys are also at risk for HPV-related cancers. Annually, there are about 300 cases of HPV-related cancers that arise elsewhere than in the cervix, according to researchers at the Cancer Registry. There are cases affecting areas such as the vagina, penis, anus and throat.

– Are men informed that they are at risk for HPV-related cancers?

– It varies a lot; some are aware of it, but not all. It’s probably not even all women who are aware of the connection between HPV and cancer, says communications consultant in the Cancer Registry, Elisabeth Jakobsen to Krsby.no.

Unfair

Girls get the HPV vaccine for free, whereas guys have to pay themselves. The HPV vaccine consists of three doses given over 6 to 12 months and cost a total of just under NOK 4,000, according to the Institute for Public Health.

– If it is true that the vaccine can prevent cancers that can also affect men, boys should also be offered the same deal, according to Henning Rasmussen who Byas comes across outside Sølvberget in Stavanger.

– It is unfair that girls should receive the vaccine for free when it could apply to cancer. The boys should get the same deal, he said.

The Institute for Public Health agrees – and has sent a recommendation to the Ministry of Health about free HPV vaccine for boys. In a recommendation to the ministry the conclusion is that it is desirable to offer the vaccine to boys 12 years of age.
– Ultimately, it is a political issue, since it must be a political decision to introduce gender neutral vaccination, says Jakobsen.

Win-win situation?

Currently, protection against cancer of the penis and throat has not been sufficiently studied, but the HPV vaccine protects against precancerous conditions involving vaginal, cervical, vulva and anus.

– there is However nothing to suggest that the HPV vaccine will not work against these cancers as well – but it is not easy to investigate this scientifically, partly because cancer of the throat takes longer to develop than for example cervical cancer, says physician and leader of the HPV-section of the Cancer Registry, Mari Nygård, to Kreftregisteret.no.
She also points to a win-win effect:
– By giving boys the HPV vaccine we could prevent many of the HPV-related cancers that men are also affected by – in addition to that we could slow down the incidence of cervical cancer even more, by that the spreading of HPV infection by boys would then decrease significantly.

1 Comment on "Unfair that only girls get the vaccine for free"

  1. Steve Hinks | 12. March 2017 at 10:30 | Reply

    A questionnaire completed by more than 100 members of the UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID) identified 29% of girls had serious adverse reactions within 24 hours of vaccination, some within minutes or just a few hours. A further 23% had a reaction within 7 days and 17% within 4 weeks. Many girls also had reactions to each dose of vaccine but continued because health professionals assured them that it was nothing to do with the vaccine. Many of the affected girls have been seriously disabled for several years with little or no support from doctors and health professionals and no contact from the MHRA, PHE, EMA or the vaccine manufacturers. See the response from MHRA to a FOIA request for an update on reported serious adverse reactions search ‘what do they know know jean clay HPV vaccine’.There are 227 pages of them with an overwhelming number labelled unknown, unresolved and not recovered despite many of them dating back several years.

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