Charities have condemned the DoH decision to award the contract to GlaxoSmithKline for Cervarix - a vaccine that protects against HPV strains 16 and 18.
Many expected the UK to follow the lead of the rest of Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and purchase the quadravalent vaccine Gardasil. By also protecting against HPV strains 6 and 11, which cause genital warts.
Lisa Power, head of policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the DoH decision was short sighted.
‘They are saving pennies to spend pounds later,' she said.
‘Most European countries have taken the sensible decision to protect their population from both cervical cancer and genital warts simultaneously, but it seeems that the UK is fated to be not just the poor man of Europe but also the warty one.'
From September, schoolgirls aged 12 and 13 will receive the vaccine, with a catch-up campaign from 2009 for those aged 14 to 18.