Wales Accelerates HPV Vaccination Catch-Up Campaign

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All girls and young women in Wales born between 1 September 1991 and 31 August 1995 will be offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine during school year 2009-10, announced Health Minister Edwina Hart.

The Welsh Assembly Government is investing about £9 million to accelerate the planned two-year catch-up campaign to ensure that an additional 40,000 girls and young women are offered protection against cervical cancer.

This follows the success of the inaugural routine programme which began last Autumn for some 20,000 girls aged 12 – 13 years old.

Nearly 90 per cent of 12 – 13 year olds have had their first vaccination and about 75 per cent have had their second. These figures will rise as more uptake results are reported.

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Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "I am delighted with the success of the new routine vaccination programme and thank all those involved including the girls themselves, their parents, and health professionals for helping us reduce the risk of these girls developing cervical cancer later in life."

"HPV vaccination is a very significant public health development and I would like Wales to press ahead by undertaking the catch-up campaign more quickly than planned. I recognise that additional efforts will be needed but am confident that local health professionals will rise to the challenge."

"We must remember that vaccination will not protect against all HPV infections so it is important that everyone attends cervical cancer screening when they are called."

Guidance will be issued to the NHS in the coming weeks so that they can undertake the planning necessary to implement the catch-up campaign from September this year.

The Assembly Government has already funded an advertising campaign to run from this September to publicise the introduction of the programme.

Leaflets and other materials have been distributed to schools and other establishments.

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