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It was a previous report by the same panel, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, that prompted Ellison to back the pilot programme for men who have sex with men.Public Health England, which advises the UK government, said that the Department of Health must make its decision after the committee has delivered its recommendations next year.Officials said yesterday’s draft recommendation follows concerns that men who have sex with men are at high risk for HPV infection but have no protection from the current system of vaccinations.Public health experts said officials should stop "dithering" and get on with bringing in jabs for gay men, and extending the programme to cover all boys and girls.She said that it would be better to offer protection to all boys, before they became sexually active.

But it has since emerged that the virus can be transmitted through other types of sexual contact, such as oral and anal sex, resulting in cancers of the anus, penis and throat.

In its new position statement, the committee said that since the programme was introduced, increasing evidence has emerged that HPV immunisation is likely to protect against a wider range of cancers than was thought, including anal, penile and some types of head and neck cancer.

As a result, it is now due to reconsider whether teenage boys should be offered the jab, but the process will not start until next year.

It is imperative that we stop dithering and make a decision, every day that passes thousands of men are put at risk of infection from a cancer-causing virus.

The time it will take for a further consultation is just facilitating time for more men to contract HPV." She also urged the committee to act more quickly in considering jabs for teenage boys.

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