Intended for healthcare professionals


Boys should be given HPV vaccine, says joint committee

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 18 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3163

Re: Boys should be given HPV vaccine, says joint committee

The government in 2008 approved the HPV vaccine for girls with an Impact Assessment (1) which used £2,225 million (that is two thousand and 225 million, not 2 point 225 million) in the Impact Assessment cost justification, without considering any cost of side effects. Presumably, the cost has just doubled with the decision to vaccinate boys.

Furthermore, the expectation that the vaccine will protect against all head and neck cancers and all HPV related cancers which both boys and girls get” is just a great expectation. Since head and neck cancers were not part of the scope of the clinical trials, this claim falls under the category of "off-label marketing" and should not be used as the basis for making health care policies - quote by Dr S H lee in an open letter (2) to Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of Ireland’s National Immunisation Office.

Publicly the MHRA deny any serious adverse reactions occur following HPV vaccination. The JCVI HPV subcommittee received a report from the MHRA and noted that "no serious risks have been identified associated with either HPV vaccine in the UK" (3). However, when asked FOIA requests or parliamentary question (4) you find out that over 3,000 (suspected) serious adverse events have been reported (with over 24,000 adverse reactions and 8 deaths). The MHRA acknowledges only approximately 1-2% of adverse events and 10% of serious adverse events are reported.

The World Health Organisation has a global database of adverse drug reactions (5) which reports over 309,000 (suspected) adverse reactions to HPV vaccine ,including 445 deaths. They also acknowledge only approx. 10% of adverse events are reported.

It appears to me that health agencies and health professionals need to do more research on this vaccine before the damage and cost spiral totally out of control.

p.s. cases of cervical cancer in young women in the post hpv vaccine era are actually increasing in the UK (6). Similar results have also been seen in Norway, Sweden, Australia and USA - See Drs Nicole & Gerard open letter to French MPs and citizens (7)


Competing interests: No competing interests

04 August 2018
Steve Hinks
Retired health professional
Kilncroft, Drumburgh