KCE Reports 308 (2019)
The vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer was introduced about ten years ago in Belgium, but only girls benefit from it. However, it is now established that this same virus is also involved in other cancers, including throat cancer. The recommendations have thus been reviewed and here, as in most western countries, it is now recommended to vaccinate boys too. The question of the clinical and economic impact of such an extension of vaccination programmes was thus posed to us as a matter of great urgency, since the healthcare agencies of two communities had to renew their bids for the purchase of vaccines at the end of 2018.
Our review of the medical-economic literature showed that, to prevent all of the cancers due to the HPV virus, extending the vaccination to girls and boys presented a favourable cost-efficacy ratio, regardless of the vaccine used. That being said, the decision to extend vaccination to young boys should also take into account the question of equality between boys and girls, since a vaccine offered only to girls discriminates against boys.
The communication of the preliminary results from the study allowed French and Flemish communities to make a decision to extend the HPV vaccination to boys as of the start of the new school year in September 2019.