The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) (FGDP[UK]) has cautiously welcomed the deferral of a decision on whether to recommend the HPV vaccination to boys, but says the fight against the increasing prevalence of oral cancer hangs in the balance.
In July, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consulted on an 'interim position' that it was not minded to recommend that boys be immunised. HPV Action, a campaign group of which the Faculty is a member, responded that the JCVI's position was legally questionable and the result of flawed modelling, and separately sent a detailed Equality Analysis of the policy to the Department of Health. Minutes published in November reveal that the JCVI has now taken a step back from its interim position, deferring a decision until its modelling has been reviewed and equality issues have been more fully considered.
The deferral is no guarantee that the government will decide to give boys the life-saving vaccine, and HPV Action is calling for a speedy decision and full transparency of the decision-making process, and has indicated that it may later refer the issue to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.