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Girls to get cancer jab

PUBLISHED: 12:34 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:14 05 July 2010

Nine thousand girls across Norfolk and Suffolk will be given a jab to stop them developing cervical cancer over the next few months.

The immunisation programme is due to start locally before the end of the month, with consent forms being sent to parents over the next couple of weeks.

Nine thousand girls across Norfolk and Suffolk will be given a jab to stop them developing cervical cancer over the next few months.

The immunisation programme is due to start locally before the end of the month, with consent forms being sent to parents over the next couple of weeks. The vaccination is against the human papillomavirus, a very common sexually transmitted infection which causes genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer.

This week saw the start of a national government advertising campaign.

The first year of the national programme will tackle 12 and 13-year-olds in school year eight - the age group which will be tackled every year in future. Next year sixth-formers will be immunised along with year eight, and the following year the girls who have missed out - by then in years 11 and 12 - will get the jab.

As long as their parents agree, more than 4,000 girls will be given the vaccine in NHS Norfolk's area - excluding Yarmouth - 1,200 in Yarmouth and Waveney and 3,600 in the rest of Suffolk. Three doses have to be given over a six-month period. Protection lasts at least six years.

The vaccine will be given in schools - including independent and special schools. In Norfolk, the school nursing team will do the jab, while Yarmouth and Waveney PCT has recruited a special immunisation team which will go into schools, accompanied by the school nurse.

An NHS Norfolk spokesman said: “The programme will be delivered through schools but it is not mandatory. Parents are required to fill in a consent form and are able to decline to have their children vaccinated.”

Dr Brian Keeble, public health consultant with NHS Suffolk, said: “This vaccine protects against the viruses which cause about 70pc of cervical cancers, so this immunisation programme will help prevent many women from facing serious illness in years to come.”

Cervical cancer kills 1,000 women a year in the UK and 2,800 women are diagnosed every year.

It is the second biggest cancer affecting young women, after breast cancer. The vaccine works best if it is given before girls become sexually active.

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