Bradshaw left baffled after Northern Ireland misses out on HPV vaccine for boys

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said she is baffled after it was confirmed Northern Ireland will not join other UK regions in introducing the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for boys as well as girls.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended the HPV vaccine be issued for 12 to 13-year-old boys throughout the UK, as well as girls, who already routinely receive it. However, Northern Ireland will not, Ms Bradshaw said, after she wrote to the Department of Health requesting an update.

“I recently wrote to the Department of Health asking for an update and was astonished to find Northern Ireland still considers the implementation of the HPV vaccine a ‘possibility’ when every other jurisdiction in the UK is moving to introduce it,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“That Northern Ireland should remain in line with the rest of the UK on this issue is obvious, given there is free movement. People should be protected by the same vaccines, and in the case of HPV it is now clear from the expert evidence boys should be protected as well as girls. There should be no delay in implementation.

“It is also peculiar the Chief Medical Officer can direct Trusts with regard to surgical treatment, as he rightly did recently with regard to suspending vaginal mesh procedures, but not vaccination. Clearly this is yet another area where people’s safety is being negatively affected by the biggest two parties’ unwillingness to take direct responsibility for health policy.”

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