RKI recommends HPV vaccinations for adolescent men
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) regularly announces vaccination recommendations based on current knowledge and research. The new recommendation is aimed particularly at the age group of young men between nine and 14 years. For example, a new recommendation is a vaccination against human papillomaviruses (HPV), which is intended to protect against cancer precursors.
For girls, STIKO has recommended HPV vaccination since 2007. According to the latest findings, the RKI also considers this vaccination useful for boys. "Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) effectively protects against HPV infection and the resulting cancer precursors," explains Lothar H. Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute in a press release from the institute.
HPV vaccination is considered safe and harmless
Does HPV Vaccination Really Provide Safe Protection? "Vaccination is very safe; more than 270 million HPV vaccinations have been administered worldwide without any major vaccination complications," writes the RKI. It was only in early 2018 that a comprehensive evaluation confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccination.
Vaccination has not yet become established
"I hope that as many boys as possible use the HPV vaccination and that the new recommendation is another impetus for girls who have not yet been vaccinated to catch up with the vaccination," explains Wieler. According to the expert, far too few girls are still vaccinated with the active ingredient that protects against cervical cancer. In 2015, according to RKI data, just under 45 percent of all 17-year-old teenagers were fully vaccinated against HPV. As a result, the indirect protection for boys hoped for by STIKO did not materialize. This now justifies the new recommendation to also vaccinate adolescents with the HPV active ingredient. In this way, a better overall protection should be achieved.
HPV infections are also dangerous for men
Every year, around 4,600 women in Germany develop cervical cancer. HPV infection is responsible for this in almost all cases. In men, the virus is associated with the development of penile and anal cancer. Furthermore, it is said to be involved in cancer in the oral cavity and throat. According to RKI estimates, around 600 anal cancers, 250 penile cancers and 750 cancers in the oral cavity or throat are caused by HPV infection each year.
Germany as a pioneer in this vaccination recommendation
According to the RKI, Germany is one of the first European countries to recommend HPV vaccination for adolescent men. The decision to take this step is based on criteria of evidence-based medicine. For example, the burden of disease caused by HPV-associated tumors in men in Germany was assessed and a systematic review of the literature on the effectiveness and safety of HPV vaccination in boys and men was initiated.
Thousands of cancers are to be prevented
In addition, the expected effects of HPV vaccination in boys were estimated using a mathematical model. The result of this model was clear. It showed that, in the long term, this can also help prevent thousands of cancers. A federal committee will decide on the implementation of the recommendation within the next three months. The epidemiological bulletin 26/2018 published by the RKI provides detailed information on the subject. (vb)