Developments

HPV vaccine changed and extended to boys

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published recommendations from its health technology assessment (HTA) on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the HPV vaccine to boys.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: “The burden of HPV-related disease is substantial, with HPV responsible for approximately 1 in every 20 cases of cancer across the world. This assessment demonstrates that the HPV vaccine provides effective primary prevention against HPV infection and HPV-related disease, and that the vaccine is safe.”

Girls in their first year of secondary school are currently offered the 4-valent vaccine, which protects against four types of HPV. HIQA has advised that the National Immunisation Schedule switches from the 4-valent vaccine to the 9-valent vaccine, which protects against an additional five types of HPV, and that the vaccine is extended to boys of the same age.

Dr Máirín Ryan continued: “Vaccinating girls with the 9-valent vaccine is estimated to be cost saving and more effective than the existing girls-only 4-valent programme. A gender-neutral 9-valent vaccination programme, where both boys and girls are vaccinated, is estimated to be more effective than the girls-only alternative. It is likely that gender neutral 9-valent vaccination would also be cost-effective in light of the conservative assumptions used with regard to final cost, uptake rate and protection provided against all types of cancers.”

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