England offers two vaccination programmes against an infectious disease called human papillomavirus (HPV). The first vaccine program takes care of children between 12 to 13 years, while the second takes care of bisexual, gay, and men sleeping with men (MSM) who are close to 45 years old.
The universal HPV vaccination programme
Every boy and girl child in England between 12 to 13 years born after 1 September 2006 get their first routine HPV vaccine in their eighth year in school. The second shot is administered between 6 to 24 months after the first shot.
Should you be qualified for this vaccine but were not able to get it in your eighth year in school, you can still get it at no cost on the NHS till you reach 25 years if:
- You are a girl child born after 1 September 1991
- You are a boy child born after 1 September 2006
You can see the immunisation team in your school or speak with your GP surgery for more information.
With this vaccine, people can get protected from developing the risky types of HPV that trigger cancer, including cancer of the cervix, anus, genitals, head and neck. Since the HPV vaccination involves 2 shots, proper protection is offered when you are given the full dose. This is very important.
Are there people that should not get this vaccine?
Yes, this vaccine is not for:
- Those that are pregnant
- Those who have been vaccinated before and experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of the vaccine ingredients
Are there those that should hold off taking the vaccine?
Those who are not feeling well and their temperature is high or have a fever accompanied by shivers should hold off taking the HPV vaccine. Why? The reason is so that the symptoms of their health issue would be identified and not mistaken for a reaction to the vaccine.
But if you have just a slight health issue like a common cold, you need to be vaccinated; no need to delay it.
I missed my vaccine; what should I do?
If you had not taken your HPV vaccine as at when recommended: during your eighth year in school, do well to consult your immunisation team in school or talk to your GP surgery. Schedule an appointment to take the vaccine and be protected against strains of this disease that can cause cancer and lower the quality of your life. Neglecting the need for this vaccine is not encouraged if you missed the first time.
How about men having sex with men (MSM) and the HPV vaccine?
Boys have benefited indirectly from the age-old tradition of getting girls vaccinated against HPV. They don’t have any chances of developing cancer and genital warts since girls won’t spread the virus to them.
As for men having sex with other men, there has been no benefit from the programme for vaccination against HPV for girls.
However, MSM has higher odds of developing cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18 like anal, penile, throat or mouth cancer.
Men having sex with other men also risk developing genital warts resulting from HPV types 6 and 11.
MSM aged 45 years can get the HPV vaccine at no cost on the NHS when they visit a sexual health or HIV clinic in London.
Beginning 1 April 2022, 2 shots of the HPV vaccine are recommended for MSM, and it should be administered in 6 months. The essence of the dual dose is to ensure complete protection from the virus.
But for men having sex with other men whose immune system is weak, or are infected with HIV, 3 doses of the HPV vaccine is recommended.
Speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. They will give you more information about the vaccine if you are a man having sex with other men.
Can transgender people get the HPV vaccine?
Certain transgender people can get vaccinated for HPV.
Transgender women (those who were men at birth but later went under the knife to become women) can take the HPV vaccine if they have the same odds of developing HPV as the MSM that has the eligibility for getting vaccinated for HPV too.
Transgender men (those who were women at birth but later went under the knife to become men) are also qualified for the HPV vaccine should they be having sex with other men and are below or 45 years old.
Should it be that a transgender man has been given the recommended 2 shots of HPV vaccine under the HPV vaccination programme for girls, there is no need to get more shots. Contact your healthcare provider at a sexual health clinic or HIV clinic if you have any other concerns.
Now that you know who should take the HPV vaccine, you can come to Medical Express Clinic if you haven’t been vaccinated for HPV. Just book an appointment with us, and we will get it done along with any other recommended immunisations. Your sexual health is very important to your overall well-being. It should be treated with utmost care.