A PROGRAMME to vaccinate schoolgirls against the virus that causes cervical cancer begins today.
Schools in several Scottish areas will begin vaccinating pupils aged 12 and 13 from this week.
They will be the first in the UK to receive the jab as part of a nationwide programme announced last year.
The Cervarix vaccination works by targeting the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV causes around 70 per cent of cases of cervical cancer, which kills more than 1,000 women in the UK each year.
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The programme was announced last October and will eventually see all girls up to the age of 18 offered the vaccination.
Schools in other parts of the UK are expected to roll out the programme in the coming weeks.
The jab, which is not compulsory, is expected to revolutionise the approach to beating the disease.
The vaccine costs around £300 for a full course and will be given in three doses over a six-month period.
The Scottish Government said girls at schools in Tayside, Grampian, Lanarkshire, Orkney and the Western Isles were the first to be offered the vaccine.
A catch-up campaign will also offer the vaccine to 13- to 18-year-olds over the next two to three years said Dr Martin Donaghy, of public health body Health Protection Scotland
“It is a very effective vaccine and we are very hopeful,” he said.
Published Date: 02 September 2008
By LUCY CHRISTIE