Department of Health and Social Care
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Extension of the HPV vaccination programme

Extension of the HPV vaccination programme

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 21 July 2008

300,000 MORE GIRLS TO BE OFFERED VACCINE AGAINST CERVICAL CANCER

The national vaccination programme against HPV is being extended to offer protection to an additional 300,000 girls aged 17-18, starting in September, Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo announced today.

This is in addition to the routine vaccination of girls 12-13 years old which starts this September and will save up to 400 lives for each year of girls receiving the vaccine.

This extension was made possible thanks to the considerable savings that were achieved through the negotiation of the vaccine procurement process. The extension of the programme will use the same vaccine - 'Cervarix' - which is produced by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

A two year 'catch-up programme' will start in the school year 2009/10 to vaccinate girls aged between 15 to 18. Today's announcement means that girls, who would not otherwise have been included in this catch-up programme, will now be vaccinated this school year.

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

"Our policy to vaccinate girls against cervical cancer is one of the biggest public health campaigns in recent history. It will mean that up to 400 girls' lives will be saved each year.

"By choosing the right vaccine we have been able to make savings which means we can extend the programme to 17 and 18 year olds. This could save an additional 400 lives."

The vaccine will guard against the two strains of the HPV virus which cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. The original catch up programme will be delivered to girls up to 18 years from September 2009.

The Department of Health will provide additional support to PCTs in guidance and funding to ensure that the roll out of the older cohort is a success. There will be an additional £10 million for PCTs in the 2008/09 financial year to implement this extra programme.

Notes to editors:

1. The extra year of young women being offered vaccination will be those born between 1 September 1990 and 31 August 1991

2. The cost of the vaccine is commercially confidential. Cervarix(r) will be purchased by the Department of Health who will supply it free of charge to the NHS

3. During the vaccine procurement process, an adjudication was carried out to carefully examine the different vaccines offered against a wide range of criteria such as their scientific qualities and cost effectiveness. The criteria used for the adjudication had been shared in advance with the companies which tendered. Based on this assessment, the Department of Health chose to purchase Cervarix(r).

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