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CDC Panel Says No to Routine Use of Gardasil for Boys
Date:10/21/2009

Doctors are free to offer HPV shot to males but widespread vaccination not advised

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. advisory panel on Wednesday voted against the routine use of the vaccine Gardasil in boys and men, but did leave individual doctors free to recommend the vaccine for males as an option.

Gardasil protects against four strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted pathogen that is thought to cause 70 percent of cervical cancers. HPV has also been linked to rarer cancers of the throat, genitals and anus, as well as genital warts, and its use among males has been the subject of much debate since Gardasil first received FDA approval for use in females in 2006.

However, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which reports its findings to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stopped short of recommending the vaccine for boys as part of the approved childhood immunization schedule, Bloomberg News reported.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil for the prevention genital warts in males aged 9 through 26.

Advocates for widening routine HPV immunization to males reason that since males transmit the virus to females, immunizing boys and young men might reduce cervical cancer rates.

But that argument sustained a serious blow earlier this month after a study found that the cost of giving boys the vaccine would outweigh any health benefit.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted an analysis comparing a girls-only vaccination program with a co-ed vaccination program.

"This study found that while vaccine coverage and efficacy are high in girls, including boys in an HPV vaccination program generally exceeds what the U.S. typically considers good value for money," lead researcher Jane Kim, an assistant professor of health decision science, said at the ti
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