BOYS in schools across Wirral will be offered the free Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for the first time in September.

Public Health England will now offer all the youngsters in year 8 - aged 12 and 13 - the chance to receive the HPV jab which has been given to girls for free since 2008 - with parents permission.

Parents of youngsters in year 8 will need to look out for information from their children’s school about the vaccine and timings for the vaccination.

The second dose can be given anytime between six to 24 months after - two doses are needed to be fully protected.

Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for adult care and health, welcomed the new scheme, saying: “I’m thrilled to see the HPV vaccine being offered to young people across the board, in Wirral as well as nationally.

“I encourage all parents of all eligible young people to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine.”

Since the introduction of HPV vaccination, infections of some types of HPV (HPV 16/18) in 16 to 21-year-old women have reduced by 86% in England.

What is HPV?

HPV is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and membranes lining our bodies, this includes the mouth, throat, cervix and anus.

There are more than 100 types of HPV and around 40 types of HPV that can affect the genital area.

Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious and are spread during sexual activity.

Infection with some types of genital HPV can cause genital warts and abnormal tissue growth within the cervix which leads to cervical cancer.

It can also cause other types of cancers such as anal cancer, cancer of the penis, some types of head and neck cancer.

What do the experts say?

Dr Paula Cowan, chairwoman of Wirral CCG and local GP, said: “Offering the vaccine to boys will not only protect them but will also prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in girls - reducing the overall burden of these cancers in the future for all.

“It’s important not to delay vaccination, as it may be less effective as adolescents get older.

“If your child misses out on getting the vaccination for any reason, you can talk to a school nurse or immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.”

Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said: "The success of the HPV vaccine programme for girls is clear and by extending it to boys we will go a step further to help us prevent more cases of HPV-related cancer every year.

"Through our world-leading vaccination programme, we have already saved millions of lives and prevented countless cases of terrible diseases. Experts predict that we could be on our way toward eliminating cervical cancer for good."

National cancer director at NHS England Cally Palmer said: "By extending the HPV vaccine to boys, the NHS is taking an important step forward in our fight to prevent cancer - more people will be better protected, and the vaccine could help to eliminate cervical cancer in this country.

"Cancer survival is now at an all-time high, and the NHS Long Term Plan will save even more lives through enhanced screening and early diagnosis programmes to catch cancers sooner when they can be treated best.

"Programmes like this are at the heart of our work to help people live longer, healthier lives through the NHS Long Term Plan and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to take up this potentially life-saving vaccine."

For more information about HPV vaccination for parents and their children is available online at:

For further info about Wirral’s school nursing service, visit: