HPV jabs for schoolgirls in September

The HPV vaccine will be introduced into the childhood immunisation schedule from September 2008 for all girls aged between 12 and 13 years, the DoH announced today.

The programme will also include a catch-up campaign designed to target girls up to the age of 18, which will start in autumn 2009.

PCTs will plan how to deliver the vaccination programme locally while the JCVI has advised that HPV vaccination would be most efficiently delivered through schools.

Director of Immunisation at the DoH, Professor David Salisbury, said: ‘The benefits of introducing this vaccine into the national immunisation programme will be felt by women and their families for generations to come.’

Earlier this year, the DoH accepted in principle the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's HPV subgroup that the vaccine be introduced routinely for schoolgirls in the UK.

But this was subject to an independent peer review of the cost-benefit analysis.

It is thought that a national immunisation programme could prevent two thirds of cases of cervical cancer.

There are two candidate HPV vaccines available on the market, Gardasil (Merck) and Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline).

Both vaccines are to be given in three doses over six months, and target HPV strains 16 and 18, which account for 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

Gardasil also protects against 6 and 11, responsible for 90 per cent of genital warts, the most common STI seen in GUM clinics in 2005.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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