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Catch up on a missed HPV vaccine

Purple text written on a white background says HPV Awareness Day 04 Mar 2024

On HPV Awareness Day (4 March) the North Central London Cancer Alliance is urging young people up to 25 years and parents of 12 and 13-year-olds to ensure they consent to having the HPV vaccine. The latest figures in England show around one in six girls and one in five boys are not fully vaccinated by year 10.

Vaccinating both girls and boys against HPV in schools and community clinics is helping the NHS reach its pledge to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is often harmless and clears up on its own, but in some cases in can lead to cell changes which could cause cancer. The HPV vaccine helps protect against a range of cancers, including cervical, head and neck, anal and genital cancers, which can affect both boys and girls.

The latest statistics from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) for the academic year 2022/23, show that while uptake for boys and girls in year 8 slightly increased when compared to 2021-22, uptake has dropped in years 9 and 10 (year 9 girls went from 82.2% to 75.7%, year 10 girls went from 86.5% to 83.2%, year 9 boys went from 77.6% to 69.7% and year 10 boys went from 81.5% to 78.6%).

The HPV vaccine is offered to all 12-13 years olds in schools and community clinics, with parents required to consent to their child getting the jab from NHS nurses.

Dr Clare Stephens GP, Co-clinical director, North Central London Cancer Alliance said: “In 2022-23 across North Central London only 60% of girls and 53% of boys in year 9 were vaccinated which is well below the national figures. We really want to encourage young people and their parents to consider importance of the HPV vaccine.

“Worldwide the HPV vaccine has dramatically lowered the rates of cervical cancer and harmful infections in both women and men – preventing many cancers and saving lives. The HPV vaccine, together with improved uptake of cervical screening, can help us make improvements in North Central London.”

Following revised guidance last year, the NHS updated its HPV vaccination programme to a single dose instead of two doses for most under 25s, making it easier than ever for young people to have the vaccine, and for parents of 12-13 year olds to ensure their children are protected.

Last year, the NHS pledged to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040 for the first time ever, which could save thousands of lives every year in England, but this relies on as many young people as possible getting the lifesaving HPV vaccination and increasing cervical screening uptake.

If you, or your school-aged child, has missed the HPV vaccine contact your school nurse, school immunisation team or GP practice to arrange an appointment. You can catch-up until your 25th birthday.

For more information about HPV visit askabouthpv.org/

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