JCVI position flawed and legally questionable, says HPV Action

News Published: 
4 September 2017

HPV Action (HPVA) says the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)’s position on vaccinating boys against HPV results from a flawed analysis and could be in breach of the law.

The campaign group, which represents 48 organisations including the FGDP(UK), was responding to a consultation on the JCVI’s indication of the advice it intends to give to the Secretary of State for Health on whether to offer the HPV vaccination, which is already offered to girls, to boys as well.

HPVA says the data used by the JCVI on the incidence of a number of HPV-related cancers appears to be out of line with other published figures, and that it has ignored other types of HPV-related illness, including certain cancer types, as well as predictive data anticipating increasing future incidence. The response also notes that the JCVI’s modelling overestimates the effect of the programme to vaccinate gay and bisexual men, and has failed to account for the increased risks from sexual contact between UK men and women brought up in countries without a vaccination programme. Nor has it accounted for the trend toward riskier sexual behaviour, such as that associated with the growth of dating apps, or for the possibility of a fall in the uptake of the vaccine among UK girls as HPV vaccine safety scare news stories become more prevalent.

HPVA also believes that the public body may not have fulfilled its duties under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, and suggests that its refusal to publish the details of its economic modelling breaches the requirements that government consultations should ‘facilitate scrutiny’ and ‘include validated assessments of costs and benefits’, leaving the process open to potential judicial review.

HPV Action’s consultation response can be found here.