Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Quick hit: Vaccinating boys against HPV too?

Stuff not only has an article about this today, it's also the poll on their front page.
The main introduction of the $177 million vaccination programme, which aims to immunise 300,000 Kiwi schoolgirls over five years, begins this week.

The vaccine, Gardasil, has been available free to 17 and 18-year-olds since September.

About 20,000 teenage girls have already had the three doses necessary to protect them against four strains of human papilloma virus (HPV), the main cause of genital warts and cervical cancer.

The vaccine's maker, Merck Sharp & Dohme, says it plans to apply to have Gardasil licensed for boys and men up to the age of 26 after new research showing it prevents 90 per cent of genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions in males.

HPV is also present in a significant proportion of penile cancer cases. It will be interesting to see if the idea of vaccinating boys gets the same response from the Moralisers that the scheme for girls has.


The ex-expat said...

Family first is nothing if not consistent

Lucy said...

I'm actually really glad to hear they're trying to get it approved for boys; I thought it was quite shocking that they hadn't done the testing, given that men can both get cancer because of this and pass it on to women who haven't been vaccinated. (And each other, presumably?) It just seemed kind of daft to only vaccinate half of the population.

Ari said...

"It just seemed kind of daft to only vaccinate half of the population."

Indeed. ;) That said there are ethical issues with vaccinating someone for their potential heterosexual partner's benefit, as there are risks with vaccinations. At the very least having it funded and available is a good thing, though.