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Human Papilloma Virus: Vaccination

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to ensure that all adolescent girls are offered the human papilloma virus vaccination before they leave compulsory education; and if he will make a statement. (149793)

The Department has agreed in principle to accept the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that human papilloma virus vaccines should be introduced routinely for girls aged around 12-13 years, subject to independent peer review of the cost benefit analysis. Details of the programme will be finalised in the coming months, following further advice from the JCVI and discussions with the national health service on the implementation of the programme. The JCVI is currently considering the evidence regarding the benefits and costs of vaccinating older girls, and will provide advice on this issue in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to enable self-referral to a GP for the human papilloma virus vaccine for (a) those that will not take part in the immunisation programme in the 2007-08 school year and (b) older women. (149794)

The new human papilloma virus vaccines offer tremendous potential to protect women as they prevent up to 70 per cent. of cervical cancers, provided it is given before youngsters become sexually active. This is because the vaccine does not, in general, protect against established human papilloma virus infection.

The priority is to directly protect young girls against their future risk of cervical cancer.

General practitioners may exceptionally prescribe the vaccine if the clinical circumstances of a patient warrant such action.