A US advisory committee has recommended that boys should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has been known to cause cancer.
The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention committee voted unanimously to approve the routine immunisation of boys aged 11 to 12 years old with Merck HPV vaccine Gardasil.
Gardasil is already approved for use in males aged nine to 26 for the prevention of anal cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18, anal dysplasias and precancerous lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18, and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11, but the official vote could mean that injections are covered under medical insurance.
The committee also recommended that Gardasil be administered to males aged 13 to 21 who have not previously been vaccinated or have not completed the three-dose series.
The move comes five weeks after US presidential candidate Michele Bachmann publically suggested the vaccine could cause mental retardation in children, but no such cases have been recorded by health officials.
Bachmann criticised Texas Governor Rick Perry for making an executive order four years ago requiring girls in the state to be vaccinated against the virus, which can lead to cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer.