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.

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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.