From September 2019, boys aged 12 and 13 years will be offered the free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Public Health England (PHE) has announced.
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard echoed the BMA's sentiment: 'There is very strong evidence that shows the HPV vaccine can protect people from a virus that can trigger a wide range of cancers that affect both men and women, so it is vital that as many eligible boys and girls as possible get inoculated.
The NHS will give the HPV vaccine to teenage boys across the United Kingdom as well as girls from September, Public Health England has confirmed.
"Through our world-leading vaccination programme, we have already saved millions of lives and prevented countless cases of awful diseases".
The vaccine is a mimic of the virus particle, but when administered into someone's muscle, it creates many more antibodies than a natural infection would, according to John Doorbar, professor of viral pathogenesis at the University of Cambridge.
Since its introduction, infections of some types of HPV in 16-21 year old women have reduced by 86 per cent in England. A Scottish study also showed that the vaccine has reduced pre-cancerous cervical disease in women by up to 71%.
Because the programme to vaccinate teenage girls, and reduce cervical cancers, has proved very successful.
Figures suggest that offering boys the vaccination could prevent over 64,000 cervical cancers and almost 50,000 non-cervical cancers by 2058, according to the University of Warwick. That would include some 30,000 cancer cases in males.
"This is a life saving vaccine and I would encourage all eligible boys and girls to take up the NHS offer of the free vaccine".
"This universal program is offering us the opportunity for building on the success of the program for girls and making diseases related to HPV a thing of the past", said Public Health England's Head of Immunization, Dr. Mary Ramsay.
Boys will, for the first time, be given the lifesaving jab when they're in Year 8 at secondary school in a bid to prevent more than 100,000 cancers by the year 2058.
'It's pleasing to see the United Kingdom follow the example of other countries like Australia, where the vaccine has been implemented for girls since 2007 and for boys in 2013.
A total of 10 million dose of the HPV vaccine have been given to young women, meaning 80 per of those age 15 to 24 have received it.
'By extending the HPV vaccine to boys, the NHS is taking an important step forward in our fight to prevent cancer, ' said the NHS's national cancer director, Cally Palmer.
"Currently a large number of adolescents remain unprotected from the existing girls" HPV vaccination programme, despite the burden of HPV-related disease, such as ano-genital cancers, oral cancers and genital warts.
Boys who are 14-18 can also get a jab, but they will need to pay for it.
The HPV vaccine works best if boys and girls get it before they become sexually active. If they miss out on the vaccination for any reason they should talk to their school nurse or immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.