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​Dentists condemn failure on HPV vaccinations

19 July 2017


Dentists have condemned news that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has decided not to recommend an extension of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to school age boys.


HPV has been linked to 1 in 20 cases of cancer in the UK. Health campaigners have called for a gender-neutral approach to vaccination, which would ensure 400,000 school-age boys are not left at risk.


Up to 80% of sexually active people will be infected by HPV at some point in their lives. 5% of all cancers are caused by HPV and some of these, notably oral cancers, are now rising sharply in incidence. HPV-related cancers such as anal cancer are also among the hardest to diagnose and treat.


A recent poll published by the campaign coalition HPV Action for World Immunisation Week (24-28 April), showed that 97% of dentists backed expansion of the programme, with the same proportion saying if they had a son they would want them to receive the vaccination. 94% of GPs said they would support both positions.


This initial recommendation by JCVI will now be subject to a public consultation, and the BDA will make representations to the Committee urging them to reconsider the evidence before they make their final decision in October.


BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said:


"HPV has emerged as the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers, so JCVI's unwillingness to expand the vaccination programme to boys is frankly indefensible. The state has a responsibility to offer all our children the best possible defence.


"Dentists are on the front line in the battle against oral cancer, a condition with heart-breaking and life-changing results. Ministers can chose to sit this one out, or show they really believe in prevention."


About the BDA

The BDA is the voice of dentists and dental students in the UK. We bring dentists together, support our members through advice and education, and represent their interests.


As a trade union and professional body, we represent all fields of dentistry including general practice, community dental services, the armed forces, hospitals, academia, public health and research.

We are owned and run by our members and all our income is reinvested for the benefit of the profession.


Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.