The Doctors Next Door

Should Boys Now Get the HPV Vaccine?

Yes, Gardasil has been approved by the FDA for use in boys ages 9-26 years for the prevention of genital warts. However, this approval needed to pass another hurdle in order to gain widespread use.

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It did not. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended against routine use of the vaccine in boys. 

While one could argue that decreasing the rate of infection in young men could have the benefit of decreasing the same in young women, it was not shown to be cost-effective for this purpose.   According to an analysis done in the British Medical Journal, the routine vaccination of boys "exceeded the thresholds of good value for money".

The ACIP did however give some concessions on the use of the vaccine in boys.  First, they agreed with "permissive" use.  Permissive use means just that, they've given the "mother may I?" nod to the healthcare community in case parents and patients would like to be immunized. 

They also made a recommendation for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program to cover Gardasil for those young men who request it. VFC is the program that makes vaccines available through the state public health system so that cost is not a barrier to vaccination.  VFC will make their own decision as to whether they will agree to pay for it.  I'd be surprised if they did. The vaccine has not been shown to prevent cancer in boys.

 

 


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