Brussels: All 13-to 18-years-old boys will have access to free vaccination against HPV

Belgium: All 13-to 18-years-old boys will have access to free vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) from August 1, 2022. The nonprofit organisation O’YES made the announcement.

The organisation mentioned that no matter what gender, the vaccination is now free or refundable for all 13 to 18-years-olds.

The vaccine has been reimbursed by inAMI for girls in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB) up to the age of 18, but not for boys since 2008.

Men and women have previously received separate reimbursements for this vaccination. A free vaccination campaign in schools was started in September 2019 and opened to males between the ages of 13 and 14. However, the boys had to pay €400 for their vaccinations outside of this scheme.

For their senior citizens, a lawsuit was the catalyst for change. In contrast to females his age, a young boy who was denied the right to reimbursement for this vaccination filed a lawsuit, which the Institute backed for the Equality of Women and Men.

The Brussels Labour Court found in March 2022 that the HPV vaccine reimbursement programme violated both anti-discrimination and gender laws. After then, the nonprofit organisation O’YES and its allies gave federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke complete blanche. For males up to and including the age of 18, a dossier has been sent to the Drug Compensation Committee asking for catch-up reimbursement.

For a long time, physicians and the authorities believed that this virus was a “girls’ problem,” which is one of the reasons males have not had access to free vaccinations until now. Today, we are aware that this is certainly not the case.

Up to 80% of sexually active men and women are thought to have come into contact with HPV at least once during their lives. Additionally, there may be effects on men’s health in addition to the transmission issue.

Genital warts (condylomas) and malignancies can develop in both men and women as a result of these highly infectious illnesses. According to research that was published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, papillomavirus is to blame for 70% of throat malignancies.

Yet the Higher Health Council only modified its advice to suggest the vaccination for males between the ages of 9 and 14 in 2017. In an effort to eradicate cervical cancer and other malignancies brought on by HPV, the European Commission is now urging Member States to increase HPV vaccination for boys and girls.

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