By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO | Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:21pm EDT
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. vaccine advisers are weighing whether boys and young men should be vaccinated against the human wart virus that causes a number of cancers, but some worry the vaccine is too costly to justify its use.
Merck & Co’s Gardasil vaccine is approved for boys, safe and it would be cost-effective, CDC researchers and vaccine experts told a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday.
Some men would also benefit from the vaccine, including homosexuals and bisexuals, who are at risk of developing anal cancers and other conditions caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the experts said.
HPV infection is best known as the primary cause of cervical cancer, but it can also lead to cancers of the anus, penis, head and neck. Vaccinating men and boys could prevent some of these cancers.
Currently, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Gardasil vaccinations for girls and women between the ages of 11 and 26.
And while doctors are free to use the vaccine for preventing genital warts in boys and men ages 9 through 26, U.S. vaccine advisers last year declined to recommend routine vaccination for males.
But they did make it available to boys in the Vaccines for Children Program, a government-funded system that provides vaccines to children eligible for the state-federal Medicaid health insurance plan and other uninsured children.
The main reason the vaccine was approved was to prevent cervical cancer, which kills 4,000 women a year in the United States. But various strains of HPV also cause disfiguring genital warts and anal, penile, head and neck cancers.
Personally, I think they know the adverse reactions may even be greater in the boys than the girls….and if boys get the vaccine and start reporting to VAERS – the numbers will be astronomical. The 20,000 adverse reactions will skyrocket to 40,000 plus. And they know we are monitoring VAERS.