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Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish guidance on the vaccination of women and girls who do not meet the criteria for inclusion in the national programme; and what estimate he has made of the number of women and girls to whom that guidance will apply. (325388)

The aim of the national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme is the prevention of cervical cancer. HPV is passed through sexual contact which means that the vaccine is most effective if given before the start of sexual activity. The HPV vaccination programme is based on advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which considered a number of factors, including cost-effectiveness. Girls aged 12 to 13 years in school year 8 are routinely offered the vaccine and girls up to the age of 18 are being offered the vaccine in a time-limited catch up programme. General practitioners can only prescribe the HPV vaccine outside the specified cohorts in exceptional clinical circumstances.

The Immunisation website provides information about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine to girls that are 18 or over and therefore too old to be part of the national vaccination programme. The website also urges them to attend cervical screening when they are invited from the age of 25.

The website address is: vaccination/Im_over_18_and_would_like_to_have_the_ HPV_vaccination._Can_I_get_it_done_by_my_GP