HPV jab to change for those under 25 in England as part of vaccine shake-up
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Those under the age of 25 living in England will be offered a single shot of HPV vaccine instead of two from September. This is in line with the latest evidence and recommendations already in place in Scotland.
Global studies suggest one dose is enough to provide protection against a range of cancers, including cervical cancer. The vaccine is offered to school pupils in England between the ages of 11 and 13.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a common virus usually spread through intimate sexual contact. The virus is very contagious and can spread by close skin-to-skin contact.
There are over 100 different types of HPV and infections do not usually cause any symptoms. However, some types may cause warts on feet, hands, genitals or inside the mouth.
While most people can get rid of the virus without treatment, those who are high risk can cause abnormal tissue growth that can lead to cancers.
The vaccine can protect against:
- nearly all cases of cervical cancer
- most anal cancers
- some genital and head and neck cancers
From September in England a single dose will be offered to all children aged 12-13 and eligible men who have sex with men, under the age of 25. Two doses will still be offered to: men who have sex with men, aged 25-45 while three doses will be offered to people who have HIV or are immunosuppressed.
In May, Wales announced it will move to a one-dose schedule in September.
UK Health Security Agency immunisation consultant epidemiologist Dr Vanessa Saliba said: "The HPV-vaccination programme is one of the most successful in the world and has dramatically lowered the rates of cervical cancer and harmful infections in both women and men - preventing many cancers and saving lives.
"The latest evidence shows that one dose provides protection as robust as two doses. This is excellent news for young people. If you missed your HPV vaccine, it is vital you get protected.
“Contact your school nurse, school immunisation team or GP practice to arrange an appointment - you remain eligible to receive the vaccine until your 25th birthday."
National Director for Screening and Vaccinations Steve Russell said: “This is another step forward for our world-leading HPV vaccination programme, which saves lives by significantly reducing the risk of cervical cancer.
“With one quick HPV jab now making it simpler than ever to reduce your risk of cancers caused by the virus, it’s so important that people come forward when invited. Along with getting your HPV vaccine, it is also still vital to book in for your cervical screening appointment, which checks for high-risk HPV and remains one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.”