Cervical cancer vaccines given to 90 per cent of 12 to 13-year-old girls in Cambridgeshire

MORE than 90 per cent of 12 to 13-year-old girls in Cambridgeshire have been protected against the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer.

Vaccination rates for 2009/10 published by the Department of Health show that more than 3000 year eight girls were protected by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination team.

The vaccine will help protect girls against types 16 and 18 of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which cause 70 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer. Three injections are needed over a period of about six months.

The team is responsible for delivering the national vaccination programme locally, which started in September 2008. The team has also vaccinated more than 4500 16 to 18-year-old girls during the last year.

Penny Miller, public health specialist nurse for the Trust, said: “Around a thousand women die from cervical cancer in the UK each year, like TV reality star Jade Goody, who sadly died nearly two years ago at the age of 27.

“The good news is that by getting vaccinated at a young age girls are protecting themselves against the virus which can cause cervical cancer in later life.”

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health at NHS Cambridgeshire, said: “These figures show that the local vaccination programme has been really successful and means that we are on the way to protecting a generation of young women from cervical cancer.

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“Cambridgeshire’s vaccination programme compares very favourably with the rest of the country in all age groups, but there’s no room for complacency and I would strongly urge everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to get themselves protected.”

Two age groups were initially offered the HPV vaccine in 2008 – girls aged 12 to 13 in year 8 of school and girls aged 17 to 18.

During 2009 and 2010 there was a catch-up programme, so all girls leaving school after 2010 will have the opportunity to be protected against cervical cancer later in life.

If you want to know more about the HPV vaccine you can contact the team on 01353 865579, your GP or visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/HPV-vaccination

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