What is HPV?
HPV is the name of a very common group of viruses. They do not cause any problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer. HPV affects the skin. There are more than 100 different types.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women under the age of 35. In the UK, around 3000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year and about 900 women die from it, almost all in older women who were unable to benefit from the vaccination programme. Cervical cancer develops in the cervix (the entrance to the womb – see diagram below).
About the Vaccine
The HPV vaccine protects against the two types that cause most cases (over 70%) of cervical cancer. Having the HPV vaccine now will help protect you from getting cervical cancer when you are an adult. From September 2019 boys will also be offered the HPV vaccine.
The vaccine has passed the strict safety standards for use in the United Kingdom and has been shown to be a very safe vaccine.
I missed my vaccination, can I still have it?
Yes. If you missed either of your vaccinations you should speak with your school's Link Nurse or a member of the Starting Well Immunisation team, who will arrange an appointment for you. You can email them on email@example.com or call on 0151 488 8498.
Having the vaccination
The nurse will give you the vaccination in your upper arm. You will be offered the first injection in year 8. The second one will be offered 6 to 12 months after the first, but it can be given up to 24 months after. It’s important that you have both doses to be protected.
As with all vaccines, any reports of side effects are closely monitored and reviewed. See www.nhs.uk/hpv or see the patient information leaflet (PIL) if you’d like more information on side effects.
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