The HPV vaccine – which protects against cervical cancer and genital warts – is available to all girls in the UK aged 12 to 13, however in England the percentage of those having the injections varies throughout the country.
Only 64% of teenage girls living in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have completed the full vaccine course. This marks a drop of 16% in the last three years and is one of the lowest rates in England. The highest uptake is Channel Island Jersey, with 92% completing the three injections over a six month period.
The average for England is 90% however the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is still concerned by areas such as Cornwall, which is beaten only by Hackney in London for low uptake. One problem is girls dropping out of the course after the first injection, as figures show numbers falling after the high of 78% of girls having the first injection.
Public Health Consultant Dr Kerry Bailey works with the Cornwall Council, and is urging girls to seize this opportunity:
“This jab can protect you against cervical cancer. There’s very few cancers we can protect ourselves against. That’s why we would encourage parents to take their girls in to get the vaccine.”
Around 900 women a year die of cervical cancer in England. As Robert Music, Director of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “… the vaccine could quite simply save lives.”
Better2Know urges you to take your daughters and sons to get vaccinated, and can provide the HPV vaccine. HPV can affect men as well, being a cause of cancers such as anal cancer. Nothing should stop you from protecting those you love most.
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