Boots is extending its private human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination service to make it available to boys and men aged 12–44 years.
The service, available at 68 Boots stores, uses the nine-valent HPV vaccine administered by a specially trained pharmacist.
“We are delighted to be able to extend our HPV vaccination service, ensuring more men and boys across the UK have access to this important vaccination,” says Richard Bradley, pharmacy director of Boots UK. “This is a fantastic example of how community pharmacists can use their clinical skills to support patients’ health in locations and at times that are convenient to them.”
The service costs £150 per vaccination and children aged 12–14 years require two vaccinations, while those aged 15–44 years require a course of three.
It protects against nine strains of HPV, which together account for 90% of HPV-related anal cancers and genital warts in both men and women. The HPV virus is also linked to penile, and head and neck, cancers, although there is a lack of data to show the effectiveness of HPV vaccination in preventing these types of cancer.
HPV vaccination has routinely been made available to girls aged 12–13 on the NHS for protection against cervical cancer. Public Health England is currently running a pilot of the vaccination for men who have sex with men, and says it has been asked by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation to look at the impact of extending the HPV vaccination programme to adolescent boys.
HPV Action, a collaborative partnership of 45 patient and professional organisations working to reduce the health burden of HPV, is campaigning to have the NHS HPV vaccination programme extended to teenaged boys. “Without this, almost 400,000 more boys each year are being left at risk from HPV-related cancers,” says their campaign director, Peter Baker.
“In the meantime, it’s important that parents and carers who want their sons to be vaccinated have the option of taking them to organisations like Boots UK.”