A "missing generation" of more than a million boys and young men will miss vaccinations that could prevent them from several cancers, a charity warns.
Trust cancer wants adolescents 13 to 24 years old to be offered HPV (human papillomavirus), now that it is routine to receive it at the age of 12, along with girls.
"While it's great, some boys from this year onwards will have the same protection against HPV cancer that girls and women have for decades; a generation of teens and young men are giving up this chance, "says Trust CEO Kate Collins.
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"If they don't vaccinate older boys, they put them at risk, since they rely on the false assumption that they will only have a sec non-HPV partners. This undermines the UK's progress in reducing HPV-related cancer, such as cervical cancer, as this "missing generation" of boys can obtain and share HPV with others, and is not vaccinated. And contrary to the NHS's own message that universal vaccinations are for the common good. "
The HPV vaccine protects girls against the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer. It reduced the major HPV circulating strains by 80% since the program began in 2008. Immunizing boys will help reduce the presence of the sexually transmitted virus yet.
However, immunizing boys will have direct benefits for them as well. HPV also causes about 90% of anal cancers and 50% of penile cancer, as well as some head and neck cancers, as well as about 90% of genital warts.
The HPV vaccination program will be open to boys 8 to 12 years old for the first time in September. When the program began for girls a decade ago, the vaccine was also offered to older girls and young women. The Trust Cancer Trust says this should happen to boys and young men.
Only a charity survey shows that 76% of teens and teens ages 13 to 24 would want the vaccine if offered free of charge in the NHS, if they had to pay, however, nearly half (46%) would not get it.