The HPV vaccine to be used during the 2021/22 academic year is to be changed ‘at some point’ during the school year with a need for ‘robust’ communications around consent for the new jab, Public Health England (PHE) has told commissioners.
In a letter sent to CCGs and NHS England leaders, PHE outlined that the vaccine supplied for the HPV immunisation programme will change from Gardasil to Gardasil 9 for the upcoming academic year.
It added that this switch will occur ‘at some point’ between late 2021 and early 2022, with PHE first planning to issue its remaining central supplies of the initial vaccine.
PHE said: ‘For the school-based programme in particular, there will need to be clear communication with parents and eligible adolescents and robust arrangements in place to ensure the consent process is adequate for this transition period during the 2021 to 2022 academic year.’
It also said that those responsible for commissioning and delivering the programme should share the guidance with ‘all those who are involved’ in delivery in their area.
The updated consent form which should be delivered by schools is available via the PHE website.
The new vaccine – Gardasil 9 – was first outlined as the preferred vaccine for the girls’ programme in by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in June 2016.
Its recommendation was influenced by the additional health benefits that it provided in protecting against the five additional cancer causing HPV types in women and girls: types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.
However, PHE clarified that the JCVI has not given any advice about the vaccine of choice for a gender neutral programme.
Gardasil 9 will be supplied for both arms of the HPV programme – adolescents aged 12 to 13 years and those who remain eligible until they turn 25 years of age, and men who have sex with men (MSM) up to 45 years – PHE said.
It added that local supplies of Gardasil should not be ‘ringfenced’ for those who have already received a first dose of Gardasil, and that these supplies should be used up prior to switching to Gardasil 9.
GP practices are required to provide HPV vaccinations to eligible boys and girls up until they turn 25 years old and who missed vaccination under the schools’ programme, PHE said.
From 1 April 2021, all provision of vaccination and immunisation services in general practice are considered essential services (with the exception of childhood and adult seasonal flu).
This means a single item of service fee has been implemented for all doses delivered in vaccination programmes funded through the General Medical Services (GMS) contract.
An item of service fee will be applicable for those vaccinations administered by the GP practice, it said.