Current Weather
The Spy FM

Key Panel Recommends Routine HPV Vaccination For Boys

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
October 25, 2011

If you thought the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer was controversial before, things are just warming up.

A panel of experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine policies has recommended routine vaccination of 11- and 12-year-old boys with Gardasil, Merck’s vaccine against human papillomavirus. Vaccinations could start as early as age 9 and extend to 21-year-old men who weren’t previously vaccinated.

“Today is another milestone in the nation’s battle against cancer,” said the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a media briefing about the recommendation.

Vaccinating boys against the sexually transmitted virus can help protect them from genital warts and may protect them against cancers of the head and neck, as well as the anus. Immunizing boys against HPV can also reduce the infection risks for girls, adding to the overall protective effect of the vaccine for cervical cancer.

But the HPV vaccine is expensive — it runs more than $100 a dose. Three shots are recommended.

Data presented at the panel’s meeting in Atlanta estimated the costs of vaccinating boys at $136 million in the first year.

Estimating the value of health benefits is harder. The value of male HPV vaccination is higher when the rate of immunization among females is lower. About 18,000 HPV-related cancers strike American women each year, Schuchat said. For men, the figure is around 7,000.

But the health benefits in the form of prevented disease take years to accrue.

Despite the uncertainty, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously recommended routine use of Gardasil for boys as worthwhile. The CDC is expected to make the recommendation official.

In the past, the CDC has said doctors are free to offer the HPV vaccine to males ages 9 to 24. But the agency didn’t say it should be routine.

In a statement e-mailed to Shots, Merck said its analysis shows that HPV shots for boys make economic sense, assuming the immunizations cut the transmission of HPV and decrease the development of genital warts. The company notes, however, that the clinical studies incorporated in its model didn’t address transmission.

The most common side effects from HPV vaccination are pain and swelling at this site of injection, headache and fever. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

2PM to 3PM The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Think NPR meets Vanity Fair. In each episode, hosts Rico Gagliano & Brendan Francis Newnam talk with some of the world's most interesting celebrities, and along the way equip you with bad jokes, fresh drink recipes, hot food finds, odd news stories... and etiquette tips from the likes of Henry Rollins and Dick Cavett. It's all you need to get an edge in your weekend conversations. Past guests include Michelle Williams, Judd Apatow, Kid Cudi and Sir Richard Branson. Wallpaper magazine calls The Dinner Party one of the Top 40 Reasons To Live In The USA.

Listen Live Now!

3PM to 4PM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

4PM to 5PM Weekend All Things Considered

Weekend All Things Considered

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center