Following the announcement that the HPV jab - which vaccinates against several different strains of cancer - will be rolled-out to boys aged 12 to 13 in England, Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has urged a similar opportunity to be extended to boys in Northern Ireland.
Roy Beggs said:
“For too long millions of young boys across the UK have been left with an avoidable and unacceptable risk of cancer. Whilst this year marks the 10th anniversary of adolescent girls being vaccinated against HPV, it remains deeply worrying that despite all the proven benefits, boys here are still not offered all the protections that they may need to head off certain cancers.
“Whilst for a period of time vaccinating against HPV was considered exclusively an issue for females, that is simply no longer the case.
“It has been clinically and categorically proven that the human papilloma virus can cause cancer and other serious diseases in both sexes, so it is totally unfair that girls are vaccinated whilst boys aren’t.
“The announcement from the UK Government that boys in England are to be given the jab is a huge step forward, but it doesn’t extend to Northern Ireland.
“This simply must not be allowed to become another area where people in Northern Ireland are left behind the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of the scope and quality of support offered to them by the NHS.
“If the Secretary of State can introduce legislation in Parliament to pass budgets and set rates, then in my opinion, she can instruct civil servants to roll-out what for some young boys may well be the difference between life and death.”