PALO ALTO (KCBS/AP) – A government panel is recommending that young boys also get the controversial HPV shot. That’s the vaccine now given to girls to prevent cervical cancer.

Doctors argue that it could protect boys against genital warts and some kinds of cancers. Officials also say vaccinating 11- and 12-year old boys could also help prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted virus to girls.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Tuesday. Federal health officials usually adopt what the panel says and ask doctors and patients to follow the recommendations.

The HPV vaccine has been controversial since it was recommended for girls five years ago. Critics argued it would promote sexual activity.

Only about a third of adolescent girls have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Neville Golden, M.D., Chief of Adolescent Medicine at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, stressed there is no evidence that the vaccine promotes sexual activity.

“Most 11 or 12-year-olds have not initiated sexual intercourse, but many 15 and 16-year-olds have. So you want to try to administer this vaccine as early as possible,” he reasoned. “This is something we can do. I think by giving the vaccine not only to young girls but also to young boys, we can play a major role in getting rid of cancer.”

“I’m not aware of any other vaccine that has the potential to prevent cancer,” he continued.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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