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Teens cervical cancer jabs speeded up

PUBLISHED: 10:24 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:30 05 July 2010

ALL teenagers in Norfolk will be offered a jab which protects against cervical cancer, a year earlier than originally planned.

Because the first year of the vaccination for young women has been so successful, the Department of Health is encouraging primary care trusts to roll out the campaign more quickly.

ALL teenagers in Norfolk will be offered a jab which protects against cervical cancer, a year earlier than originally planned.

Because the first year of the vaccination for young women has been so successful, the Department of Health is encouraging primary care trusts to roll out the campaign more quickly. It is also providing funding for them to do so, at a cost of up to £17m nationally.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against two of the types of HPV which can lead to cervical cancer. It is only effective if the woman has not already been infected, so is intended to be given before girls become sexually active. Around 1,000 women die of cervical cancer every year in the UK.

NHS Norfolk is planning to do “catch-up” vaccinations for 15 to 18 year-olds (school years 10 to 13) in the next academic year, while originally it was planning to do half the age group that year and half the following year. Twelve and 13-year-olds in Year Eight and 17-18 year-olds in Year 13 are already being vaccinated this year, and Year Eight will be done every year in future.

Maureen Carson, director of women's and children's health, said: “We are currently drawing up plans on how we wish to see this best delivered within our area and will be putting the contract for that vaccination campaign out to tender to ensure we get best value for money.

“The catch-up campaign is expected to begin in September - as per the DoH guidance - which we feel is a sensible approach as many of these young women are still at schools and colleges of further education and so this would coincide with a new school year.”

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney is also hoping to speed up the vaccination programme. So far 90pc of Year Eight girls have had the first of three doses, though rates are lower for 17-18-year-olds.

NHS Norfolk immunisation team can be contacted on 01603 776894.

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