Malta’s Ministry of Health has failed to provide a concrete plan to ensure that a crucial HPV vaccine is also provided to boys, even though the widespread sexually transmitted disease affects men and women alike.
However, it noted that the Advisory Committee in Immunisation Programme in Malta recommended that the HPV vaccine is introduced for boys. The ministry said that the recommendation is currently being processed.
Despite it being outlined in the national cancer plan, boys currently do not receive the HPV vaccine due to misconceptions that only women can get infected.
HPV affects around 85% of sexually active people, making it the most common STD in Malta. And although most HPV infections go away on their own, serious infections can cause certain types of cancer.
The STD can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva in women, and lead to genital warts as well as oral, throat and anal cancer in men.
Malta’s National Cancer plan says that “an evaluation of the programme will be performed at the completion of the first five years. This will include an exploration of the impact of expanding the program to include male children of the same age cohort of the girls already being invited.”
However, no action has been taken yet. The ministry remains silent on their reasoning to only vaccinate girls against HPV and failed to reply to the question when boys will start receiving the HPV vaccine.