The HPV vaccine is set to be given to boys on the immunisation schedule, after the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that the HPV programme become gender neutral.
In draft minutes of their June committee meeting, the JCVI state that they will ‘advise extending immunisation to adolescent boys’ aged 12-13 years.
The Government is now expected to add HPV vaccination of boys to the immunisation schedule, making the HPV programme gender neutral.
The Committee used modelling by the University of Warwick to assess the impact of extending the programme to boys, assuming it would be offered to the same age as for girls.
They found that simply extending the HPV vaccine to boys would not be cost-effective when evaluated using standard measures of cost-effectiveness – £20,000 per quality adjusted life year and a 3.5% discount rate.
But using a lower discount rate of 1.5% showed the vaccine to be cost-effective, and at a ‘realistic vaccine price’.
Uptake in girls also affected the cost-effectiveness, with a lower uptake in girls making vaccination of boys more cost-effective. But the Committee ‘recognised that despite the high uptake seen in girls, there was a good argument for a gender neutral programme in terms of providing some short-term resilience to the programme’.
They added: ‘Using a 1.5% discount rate it was likely that a gender neutral programme would be cost-effective, and on the basis of these findings the Committee agreed they would advise extending immunisation to adolescent boys, with vaccination offered at the same age as adolescent girls (12-13 years).’