Boys will be offered HPV vaccine in September
Boys entering year nine will be offered the HPV vaccine for the first time in September.
It's being offered as part of the school-based vaccination programme offered by the Public Health Agency.
The vaccine, which protects against the human papilloma virus, was first introduced in 2008 and was offered to girls aged 12 to 13.
“The HPV vaccine will help protect your child against HPV infection and associated cancers, including over 70% of cervical cancers in women, and cancers of the mouth, throat, anus and genitals in men and women," said Dr Jillian Johnston, Consultant in Health Protection at the Public Health Agency.
“For the vaccine to work fully, two injections will be needed within a 12 month period. It is important that your son or daughter has both vaccinations to get maximum protection."
Parents will receive information about the vaccine over coming weeks and when the vaccination programme commences in their child’s school.
A report from Glasgow Caledonian University in April found that HPV vaccines for girls had nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer since an immunisation programme was introduced a decade ago.
In Scotland, the uptake of the girls' vaccine is about 90%.
“During the summer break I would urge all parents or guardians to talk to their children about the importance of getting the vaccine and ensure that those eligible return their consent forms to the school and complete the course of vaccines when offered during the forthcoming school year," said Dr Johnston.
“Even though the vaccine has only been available in the UK for girls for nine years, it is very exciting that decreases in pre-cancerous lesions in the cervix and in genital warts have already been seen.
"It is estimated that the level of protection offered by the vaccine will last for at least 10 years so it is very important that your child receives the vaccine to help protect him or her from HPV infection and associated cancers.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital