HIQA announces public consultation on extending HPV vaccination programme to include boys

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has commenced a national public consultation on offering the HPV vaccine to boys.

Currently, the national immunisation programme offers the HPV vaccine to girls in their first year of secondary school. HIQA’s health technology assessment is reviewing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending this programme to include vaccinating boys in their first year of secondary school as well.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: “HPV infection presents a significant and increasing health burden in both males and females, but currently only girls are offered the vaccine. On average, 539 cases of cancer associated with HPV infection are diagnosed every year in Ireland, including cervical, anal, penile and oropharyngeal cancers. HPV infection is also responsible for genital warts, with 90% of these caused by HPV types that are included in the vaccine.”

“No treatment exists for HPV infection, so the focus must be on preventing those at risk from acquiring the virus.”

The draft findings of HIQA’s report have been published for public consultation. The assessment found that vaccinating both boys and girls would have considerable health benefits.

Dr Máirín Ryan continued: “From reviewing the evidence, HIQA has found that the HPV vaccine is safe and is effective at preventing infection with HPV. Extending the current girls-only HPV immunisation programme to include boys would reduce HPV-related disease in males and females in Ireland, improving patient-related outcomes and reducing mortality from HPV-related cancers.”

“HIQA wants to hear the views of the Irish public on this draft report before it is finalised. Following this, a final report will be prepared for consideration by the HIQA Board, before final recommendations are made to the Minister for Health.” HIQA invites members of the public to give feedback on the draft report until Friday 7 September 2018. The completed assessment will be submitted to the Minister for Health and the Health Service Executive as advice and published on the HIQA website.

You can read the draft report and take part in the public consultation using the link below.


For further information please contact: Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement 01 8147480 / 086 2447623 mwhelan@hiqa.ie

Notes to the Editor:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract causing a number of conditions in both men and women, including a range of cancers, lesions and genital warts. Around 90% of people will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
  • Following a request by the Department of Health, HIQA agreed to undertake a HTA to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme which offers HPV vaccination to all girls in their first year of second-level education (12 to 13 year olds) to a programme that also offers vaccination to boys.
  • In a number of countries the HPV vaccine is offered to boys and girls, including Austria, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.