Cancer vaccine to be increased

Thousands more girls and young women in Norfolk are being offered a vaccine to protect themselves from cervical cancer.

Thousands more girls and young women in Norfolk are being offered a vaccine to protect themselves from cervical cancer.

From September, girls born between September 1, 1996 and August 31, 1997 (girls who will be aged 12 to 13 years and in school year 8) can have the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is 99pc effective at preventing the cervical abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer caused by two types of HPV.

Between September 2008 and June 2009, more than 3,670 girls aged 12 to 13 in NHS Norfolk's area received the first of their recommended three injections. In the 17 to 18 year-old age group, more than 2,860 girls also accepted the offer of the vaccine.

This equates to 88.4pc of 12 to 13 year old girls in NHS Norfolk's area receiving their first of three injections in just one school year, almost reaching the target to vaccinate 90pc of girls in this age group.

Maureen Carson, chief nurse and director of women and children's commissioning for NHS Norfolk, urged young women to take up the offer of the vaccine. She said: 'In the last school year, a great number of girls accepted the offer of the HPV vaccine which shows huge support for the vaccination campaign by both girls and their parents. To have almost met our target for this age group in just one school year is very positive.

'The HPV vaccine is administered in three doses over a period of six months and it protects girls against the two types of the HPV virus which cause more than 70pc of cervical cancers.

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'About 1,000 women die of cervical cancer every year in the UK and it is the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide. It is important that more young women accept this offer of a vaccination, as it will help protect them from becoming part of these statistics in the future.'

NHS Norfolk will also be stepping up its campaign to offer vaccinations to girls from other age groups, who were originally scheduled to be vaccinated in future years. This will ensure more young women are offered protection against HPV infection earlier and further reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer later in life.

This means that all girls and young women aged between 15 and 18 (born between September 1, 1991 and August 31, 1995) will be offered the immunisation sooner than initially expected. NHS Norfolk is aiming to offer all girls in these age groups vaccinations by the middle of 2010.

Updated information on the vaccination programme will be published on the NHS Norfolk website at and will also be available through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 587 4132.

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