Health bosses want to make it even harder for boys to get a life-saving jab on the NHS.
The Mail on Sunday has been campaigning for boys as well as girls to be protected against the potentially fatal human papillomavirus (HPV).
But advisers to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt say that extending the jab to boys would not be ‘cost-effective’.
Now a report being considered by the Department of Health and Social Care proposes a ‘stricter hurdle’ for vaccines, meaning they would be approved only if they are exceptionally cost-effective.
Last night, HPV campaigner Dr Tony Narula condemned the plan as ‘ridiculous’, adding: ‘This can only be driven by bean-counters.
‘The idea that we are now going to start downgrading vaccines is complete nonsense.’
Richard Torbett, director of commercial policy at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said fewer new vaccines would be approved and it would be harder to extend programmes for existing ones – such as the HPV jab.
About 370,000 Year 8 girls receive Gardasil jabs annually, but not their 390,000 male classmates.
Cancers related to the virus kill about 1,550 women a year in Britain and 650 men.
But while the number of HPV-related deaths in women is declining, it is going up in men.
Gardasil protects against two strains of HPV that can cause cervical and oral cancers as well as genital warts.
A Health Department spokesman said: ‘This report was commissioned to consider if the methods used to assess cost-effectiveness of vaccination programmes should change and is now open for consultation [until May 21]. We will carefully consider the responses before making any decision.’