Written by Staff Writer
(CNN) — Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has publicly supported the use of the HPV vaccine — the inoculation for the human papillomavirus (HPV) that is linked to a range of cancers.
“It’s not an alternative in and of itself, but it’s certainly something we should consider,” the world number two, who won Olympic gold in 2012 and is a two-time major champion, told the BBC in an interview published on Tuesday.
The news comes as UK health officials launched a 30-day national vaccination campaign, offering 10-year-old boys and girls free HRTU shots against HPV.
An estimated 70,000 Britons are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, most of them after age 45. Other side effects have included genital warts and skin rashes.
Some 25,000 American women have had their cervix removed since 2008 after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
But many have questioned the vaccines’ long-term safety and asked whether a person as young as 10 really needs to be vaccinated in order to avoid cervical cancer in the future.
Speaking to the BBC, the Scottish tennis star was concerned about “the spread of all sorts of things” which occur through sexual activity.
“If you get vaccinated from the age of 12, 13, it gives you quite a lot of protection for the rest of your life,” said Murray.
“But the important thing is, are we doing it too early?
“I have a huge respect for women and I think they’ve got a huge responsibility to themselves and to other people around them.
“We need to make sure that this is available to everyone as early as possible.”
USA Today reported that the government program marks the first time that a mass vaccination campaign of boys and girls has been offered to children in the US.
The jab prevents eight of the 20 HPV types linked to cervical cancer.