Cancer vaccination programme to resume

AN ESSEX health trust which suspended its cervical cancer vaccinations for teenagers following the death of a 14-year-old girl is due to reinstate the programme today.

James Hore

AN ESSEX health trust which suspended its cervical cancer vaccinations for teenagers following the death of a 14-year-old girl is due to reinstate the programme today.

NHS North East Essex had stocks of the same batch of the vaccine which are the subject of an investigation following the death of Coventry teenager Natalie Morton.

The primary care trust postponed its vaccination programme in local schools for two days as the only stocks it held came from the same batch as used in Coventry.

Bosses said the move was a “precautionary measure” and the programme will resume today once the new stocks have been delivered.

Tests on Miss Morton have shown the Cervarix injection she had was “highly unlikely” to have caused her death, but the suspension of the vaccinations in Essex remained in place.

Most Read

Dr Mike Gogarty, NHS North East Essex director of public health, said: “I have every confidence in this vaccine and the safety monitoring.”

Yesterday the Government expressed “great confidence” in the safety of its cervical cancer vaccination programme.

The Department of Health said preliminary results from a post-mortem examination had shown that Miss Morton had a “rare and grave” underlying medical condition.

A spokesman said: “Preliminary results from the autopsy on Natalie Morton, who sadly died on Monday, confirm that she had a rare and grave underlying medical condition that was likely to have caused her death.

“Before this was known, the vaccine manufacturer voluntarily initiated a recall of one batch of vaccine as a precautionary measure.

“We have been clear all along that there is no reason to suspend HPV immunisation - the programme against cervical cancer continues today.

“We have one of the most successful immunisation programmes in the world and have great confidence in the safety of them. “Young girls can continue to protect themselves against cervical cancer by having this vaccine.

“The Department of Health strongly recommends that local immunisation continues as soon as possible.”

The Department of Health is advising parents or young people who are worried about the safety of any vaccine to speak to their GP or visit www.immunisation.nhs.uk for background information about the vaccination programme.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk