Ben Bradshaw – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Ben Bradshaw on 2016-04-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2016 to Question 31117, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department’s policies of the 2016 paper by Mesher and others, Reductions in HPV 16/18 in a population with high coverage of bivalent HPV vaccination in England: an ongoing cross-sectional study; and whether such findings have been taken into account when assessing the differential impact of the bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines on genital wart incidence.

Jane Ellison

The findings of Kavanagh and others, 2014, and of Mesher and others, 2016, are consistent with the reductions in human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 that were expected in the assessments that informed the Department’s policies. Neither of these papers report findings about genital warts incidence, both report no decrease in HPV types 6 and 11; this is also consistent with expectations in assessments that informed the Department’s policies.

The answer of 23 March 2016 stated, ‘data reported to Public Health England (PHE) from genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics shows a reduction in rates of genital warts diagnoses at GUM clinics between 2009 and 2014.’ This analysis has been updated with data for 2013 and 2014. The reductions reported were in patients aged 15 years and older. As the introduction of the quadrivalent vaccine was in 2012, to 12 year olds, no impact on genital warts in 15+ year olds within this time period was expected due to this introduction. Use of the quadrivalent vaccine within this age group prior to its introduction in the national immunisation programme was assessed as a possible but highly unlikely cause of the reductions seen.

The latest data from PHE showing reductions in genital warts diagnoses in GUM clinics amongst ages offered the bivalent vaccine are data for 2014: the future duration of any protection from genital warts associated with the bivalent vaccine has not been (and cannot be) inferred.