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High take up of cervical cancer vaccinations

PUBLISHED: 07:56 08 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:58 06 July 2010

Health bosses have hailed the high take up rate of a cervical cancer vaccination among school girls and young women.

NHS Norfolk has surpassed national averages for delivering HPV vaccinations and thousands more in the area are now being encouraged to take up the vaccine following the successful initial campaign.

Health bosses have hailed the high take up rate of a cervical cancer vaccination among school girls and young women.

NHS Norfolk has surpassed national averages for delivering HPV vaccinations and thousands more in the area are now being encouraged to take up the vaccine following the successful initial campaign.

Between September 2008 and July 2009 some 3,675 girls aged 12 to 13 received the first dose of the vaccine which is 88pc, above the national average of 87pc.

And 3,390 girls aged 12 to 13 received all three doses of the vaccine amounting to 81.6pc, well above the national average of 70pc.

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 aged 12 to 13 accepted the offer of the HPV vaccine which shows huge support for the vaccination campaign by both girls and their parents. To have achieved these results in just one school year is extremely positive.

“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 has radically stepped up their 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.

Therefore, all girls and young women aged between 15 and 18 (born between September 1, 1991 and August 31, 1995) will be offered the immunisation by the middle of 2010, sooner than initially expected.

There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only 13 of them are known to cause cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 cause more than 70pc of cases of cervical cancer and the vaccine is 99pc effective in protecting girls from these two types. The HPV vaccine is administered in three doses over a six-month period.

In most women HPV does not cause cancer, but in some cases the virus infects the cells of the surface of the cervix where it can remain for many years. The virus can damage these cells and these changes can develop into cervical cancer.

Latest figures from the NHS Information Centre show nationally 70pc of 12 to 13 year olds were fully immunised against HPV during 2008 to 2009.

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

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