Women's health * Healthy living

Cervical cancer vaccine change

Cervical cancer vaccine change New vaccine also protects against genital warts

The Department of Health has decided to change the vaccine used to immunise girls against cervical cancer.

From September next year, the Gardasil cervical vaccine will be used in the UK's vaccination programme instead of the Cervarix A one, currently in use.

Gardasil protects against the two types of human papilloma virus - HPV 16 and 18 - that cause more than 70 per cent of cases of cervical cancer. In addition, the new vaccine also protects against two types of HPV virus - HPV6 and HPV 11- that cause 90 per cent of cases of genital warts.

The news will be welcomed by doctors who have called for the change for some time. A recent survey by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH) found that nine out of ten members supported using Gardasil instead of Cervarix A.

Vaccination against cervical cancer has been routinely offered to 12 to 13 year old girls in the UK since 2008. Since then, 1.5 million young women and girls have been immunised.

Professor David Salisbury, the Government’s Director of Immunisation, said: "Young women and girls who have already been vaccinated or who are due to be vaccinated before September, do not need to be vaccinated again.

"They have done exactly the right thing and they can be assured that they are protected against types of HPV virus that cause over 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

"We have one of the best HPV vaccination programmes in the world and we want that success to continue."

Dr Tony Falconer, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president said: "We are delighted that the Department of Health has decided on the quadrivalent (Gardasil) vaccine.

"Not only will it provide immunity against cervical cancer caused by HPV, it will also protect against the strains of HPV that cause genital warts, which are unpleasant and the cause of much psychological distress for sufferers."

This article was published on Fri 25 November 2011



Image © Leah-Anne Thompson - Fotolia.com


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