The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has urged for pharmacies to be involved in delivering the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination, if the current scheme is nationally rolled out for boys as well as girls.
RPS president Ash Soni told The Pharmacist today (19 July) that community pharmacies should be able to administer the vaccine to those who miss mass vaccinations through schools.
His comments come after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised the Government to extend the national HPV vaccine to adolescent boys. At the moment, NHS England only delivers the vaccination to 12-18 year old girls.
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson told The Pharmacist that the Government is ‘carefully considering the JCVI advice and will update on a decision shortly’.
A welcome opportunity
Mr Soni continued: ‘We welcome the news that the JCVI have concluded there are “clear health benefits” for extending the HPV vaccine to boys.
‘Once it’s available, pharmacists can promote this as part of the health and wellbeing agenda.
‘What we would want is for pharmacies to be involved in the delivery of the vaccination programme. If we are to achieve the levels of immunisation that are needed, these should be supported through all channels possible.
‘This is likely to be a mass vaccination programme through schools. However, we know that some may be missed for a variety of reasons and we would welcome [the opportunity for] community pharmacies to be able to vaccinate this group of people.’
JCVI chair Andrew Pollard said: ‘There is clear evidence that vaccinating boys would have a health impact, with anticipated reductions in rates of various cancers in men including penile, anal and oropharyngeal cancers, as well as further reductions in cancers in women by reducing their exposures to the virus.
‘Vaccinating boys as well as girls would also help to ensure protection against cancers in men and women if uptake rates should fall in the short term.’