WHY WERE TCF AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT?
Last week the Founder and Chief Executive of Throat Cancer Foundation , Jamie Rae gave evidence at the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee. The Public Petitions Committee is made up of a number of MSP’s and deals with all matters of public interest, from cancer preventative vaccinations to wi-fi on Hebrides ferry services. Anyone can lodge a petition around any public issue.
TCF lodged our petition about three months ago and it was based on the very simple statement we asked medical experts to sign in support of HPV vaccination for boys.
We the undersigned urge the Government to address the inequity in the current HPV immunisation programme. We believe that vaccinating females only is an inadequate approach. Gender-neutral vaccination will reduce the impact of the most dangerous strains of HPV, preventing a great many cases of Cervical, Oropharyngeal, Anal, Penile and Vulval cancers.
By taking action now, we can reduce needless suffering and death, as well as cutting the economic burden of treatment for cancer and genital warts. The current HPV vaccination programme is discriminatory and leaves too many at risk of preventable cancers. We urge immediate action.
This statement had to be adapted slightly to fulfill the criteria of the Scottish Parliament’s rules on petitions but this is at the heart of our campaign to ensure vaccination for HPV is extended to include boys. To view the full petition and background information please, follow this link. Once a petition is lodged and people are given the chance to sign, then the next step is for the Public Petitions Committee to ask for the petitioners to come and give evidence to the Committee.
TCF were invited to the Parliament last Tuesday and were represented by Jamie Rae, Founder and Chief Executive and Ewan Lumsden, Information and Support Manager. An opening statement is followed by questions from the MSP’s who make up the public petitions committee. The crux of the discussion centred around these key points.
- Failure to vaccinate boys is discriminatory.
- The cost, efficacy and safety of the vaccine
- The precedent set by the USA, Canada and Australia with their vaccination policies which are inclusive of boys
- The economic modeling of the vaccine is flawed and out of date, as it focuses only on cervical cancer, not the broader burden of HPV.
You can access both the transcript and the video of the evidence given by TCF.
For the transcript, simply click this pdf download.Transcript of the Scottish Parliament Public Petition. The evidence begins on page 23.
To see the video of the committee meetings simply follow this link.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The next step for the campaign is for the MSP’s on the committee to decide whether the issue warrants further investigation. We are delighted to say that they felt that there was more than enough evidence presented to warrant a more in depth investigation of the issue. The MSP’s on the committee will write to various experts in the field and canvass their opinion on all evidence that we presented and then decide what the next course of action will be.
We will be doing all we can to ensure that the next steps include protecting all boys in Scotland from HPV.