'Make a Life Saving Date'
Teenage girls urged to go for cervical cancer vaccine as figures show they're not getting the second and third jabs
Heart's been given this poster that will be going up around Medway to urge girls to go for their HPV vaccine.
Girls born between 1 September 1990 and 31 August 1997 have until the end of January 2011 to have HPV jabs at their GP surgery. After that time, the opportunity will have passed.
So far, 7,264 (54.9 per cent) of girls in this age group have had all three of their jabs - but 5,967 (45.1 per cent) have missed one or more.
Dr Maggie Bruce, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Medway, said: "Girls need to have three vaccinations for full immunity, with about six months between the first and the final vaccination.
“We know that in some cases, girls have had their first vaccination but missed out on further ones, perhaps because they were unwell, or forgot to attend an appointment. In other cases, girls haven’t even started the course.
“GP practices are sending letters to girls who have not completed the course inviting them to make an appointment. We urge girls to take up this opportunity.
"It is very important that girls have the vaccination because it can protect them against cancer in later life.”
Cervical cancer is the 12th most common women’s cancer in the UK – and the only one which can be vaccinated against.
Jade Goody’s death from cervical cancer at the age of 27 brought home the devastating effects of the disease on the person involved and those around them.
The vaccination is very safe and very effective. In uninfected girls, the Cervarix vaccine is 99 per cent effective against the two types of Human Papillomavirus that cause more than 75 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.
When the vaccination programme started, it focused on a wide age range. But in the future, only girls in Year 8 at school will be offered the vaccinations.
Dr Bruce said: "We would like all girls in Medway to be fully protected against cervical cancer. We would urge girls who have missed out on full protection so far, to act now and arm themselves against cervical cancer for the future."