June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Emma Brennan
Saturday, March 2, 2013
A HEALTH chief has praised headteachers in Suffolk for backing the NHS cervical cancer vaccination programme.
Figures released to the EADT show that 92.6% of Year Eight girls in the county’s schools were vaccinated against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) last year, which is well above the national average.
According to Ipswich-based NHS Suffolk public health medicine consultant, Brian Keeble, the uptake of the vaccine in the county is one of the highest in the eastern region.
He said: “The national target which was set about six years ago was 90% and we have exceeded that virtually every year. Cervical cancer is caused by certain strains of HPV in around 99% of cases and because of this, it is preventable with the vaccine, which is the only major vaccine delivered into schools.
“We owe a big thank-you to the headteachers in all of the schools that are part of the programme, who allow our school nurses to go in and deliver the vaccine three times a year.”
According to Suffolk County Council figures, all Year-8 girls in the county get offered the HPV vaccine and no Suffolk schools have refused to allow clinicians to administer the potentially life-saving injections.
But Dr Keeble said the vaccine would not replace cervical screening and he urged women not to be complacent, adding: “A 93% uptake is good but it still means that 7% of kids don’t have the vaccine for some reason.
“The unfortunate thing is that you can get cervical cancer without being promiscuous and sometimes parents don’t recognise this.
“In 10 years, we will see that the vaccine has made a significant difference to the number of people diagnosed with the disease.”