Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations are becoming successful in preventing new HPV infections in  young women, new research by Public Health England (PHE) has found.

The recent study published in Vaccine, provides important new evidence: following the start of the immunisation programme has led to 1 in 15 young women having HPV types 16 and 18, down from 1 in 15 when the programme started.  It is types 16 and 18 which are High Risk HPV types that have been linked to the majority (between 70 to 80%) of cervical cancers.  The research looked at the results from 4,000 women aged 16-24 between 2010 and 2012, and compared them to  similar samples from 2008, just before the vaccination programme began.

In the post-immunisation study, it was find that  HPV types 16 and 18 were lowest among 16–18 year-olds, which is the age group with the highest vaccination coverage (65% coverage), and increased with age. This is a reversal of the age trend seen in the 2008 sample, where the youngest girls had the highest prevalence of types 16 and 18.

Dr Kate Soldan, Head of PHE’s HPV surveillance, said: “These data show that as expected the HPV immunisation programme in England is reducing HPV 16/18, and doing so very substantially…We observed a clear correlation between immunisation coverage and reduced type 16 and 18 HPV infections. This adds to our confidence that the programme will achieve its aim of reducing cervical cancer. This may be of interest to countries that have yet to implement a programme of their own.”

More than 85% of the target age group (12-13 year old girls) for the Human Papillomavirus in England received the full course last year, Public Health England reported.

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