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400 Norfolk girls haven't had jab for cancer causing HPV

400 Norfolk girls haven't had jab for cancer causing HPV

Published by Grace Mcgachy
2:54pm 18th December 2019.

Norfolk's above the national average when it comes to girls getting their HPV vaccine - which helps protect against cervical cancer.

Public Health England data shows over 400 in the county didn't have the recommended two doses by the end of Year 9 last year.

Anyone who missed the jab's being urged to speak to their school nurse or GP.

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Girls in England are offered free HPV jabs at school during Years 8 and 9, when they are aged between 12 and 14.

Public Health England figures show 90.2% of girls in Norfolk were given the recommended two doses of the vaccine by the end of Year 9 in 2018-19.

This was one of the highest coverage rates in England - but 408 girls were still left unprotected.

The HPV vaccination protects against the human papillomavirus, which is responsible for more than 99% of cervical cancer cases as well as some other rarer cancers.

According to the NHS, the vaccine works best when girls receive it before they become sexually active.

HPV can be spread through any kind of skin-to-skin contact, as well as through sexual intercourse.

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Robert Music, chief executive of cervical cancer charity Jo's Trust, said it was positive that uptake remained high, but that there was much more work to do to close the gap between different parts of England.

Last year coverage for Year 9s ranged from a low of 56.7% in London's Waltham Forest to a high of 96.7% in Telford and Wrekin, in Shropshire.

Mr Music said:

"[The HPV jab] is an extremely effective vaccine that will prevent many from going through a cervical cancer diagnosis, which will ultimately save lives.

Yet we are faced with wide variation in uptake across England meaning many young women will not benefit.

There is much targeted work to do to close the gap, and we must look at reaching communities where awareness and uptake is particularly low."


Dr Vanessa Saliba, from Public Health England, said:

"The UK HPV immunisation programme is one of the most successful around the world, continuing to achieve high coverage with millions of doses of vaccine given to girls in the UK since its launch in 2008.

"We encourage parents of all eligible girls to ensure they take up the vaccine when it is offered.

Girls who missed either dose of their HPV vaccine should speak to their school nurse or GP and arrange to get the vaccine as soon as possible as they remain eligible until their 25th birthday."

HPV vaccines were also rolled out to 12 and 13-year-old boys in September, which will help prevent future cases of cervical, mouth, throat and anus cancers, she added.

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