The following article, Giving HPV Vaccine To Boys And Girls Best Way To Prevent Cervical Cancer, was first published on Flag And Cross.
Giving HPV vaccines to boys as well as girls is the most effective way to prevent cervical cancer, according to new research.
It creates a “herd immunity” to help eradicate the carcinogenic virus more quickly as well as increase personal immunity, say scientists.
The vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) was first established in 2006, and was exclusively given to girls from around the age of 12 since 2008 as part of the NHS routine vaccination schedule.
But since 2019, the vaccine is now offered to both boys and girls in the UK.
The new study took place across 33 towns in Finland, which were randomly assigned to either vaccinate boys and girls, vaccinate girls only, or to offer no vaccination at all.
Participants included children born between 1992 and 1994, of which 11,000 participants were followed up on at age 18, and a further 5,500 individuals at age 22, representing four and eight years following vaccination.
The vaccine used protected against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of all HPV-related cervical cancers, but also provided protection against types 31 and 45.
The results, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe show that eight years after vaccination, the prevalence of HPV types 16 and 18 declined significantly in the 22 towns in which the vaccine was provided.
In the 11 towns that only vaccinated girls, there was a decrease in HPV 31, while in the 11 towns that vaccinated girls and boys, there was a clear decline in both HPV 31 and 45.
Dr. Ville Pimenoff, a senior research fellow at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, said: “According to our calculations, it would take 20 years of vaccinating girls to achieve the same effect that can be achieved in eight years with a relatively moderate vaccination coverage rate of gender-neutral vaccination.
“This shows that you get stronger herd immunity if you vaccinate both boys and girls.”
Researchers were also able to demonstrate that the virus types eliminated by the vaccine were replaced by other HPV types of low oncogenicity, or types that are capable of inducing tumors.
This means that although the risk of cancer from the virus types against which the vaccine protects is negated, the entire risk of cancer is not eliminated, since they are replaced by lower-risk virus types.
Dr. Pimenoff added: “The HPV vaccine is effective against the high oncogenetic HPV types and studies, including our own, show that there is no reason to be concerned about the observed increase of low oncogenetic HPV types since they very rarely cause cancer.”
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Sweden, and comprises over 200 virus types.
Some types of HPV can eventually give rise to different kinds of cancer, of which cervical cancer is the most common.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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