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Health chiefs vow to do more to boost HPV vaccination take up in Wales

29 Jan 2023 2 minute read
Photo Danny Lawson PA Images

Health Chiefs have vowed to do more to improve the take up of HPV vaccinations in Wales, after the latest figures revealed the percentage of people receiving the jab was below the level recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The latest figures released by Public Health Wales have revealed uptake of the crucial first dose of the by school year 10 in 2021-22 is 83.1 per cent, and is at 72.7 percent for the second dose.”

The WHO strategy for the successful elimination of cervical cancer sets out the target of vaccinating 90 per cent of girls by the age of 15.

Dr Chris Johnson, Head of Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme for Public Health Wales, said the latest figures were the result of “significant efforts by our vaccination teams, after uptake in this age group was affected during the Covid pandemic.

“However, we recognise that there is room for improvement, and we will be working with partners to do more to promote the vaccination and encourage take up across Wales,” he added.

“Girls and boys* up to the age of 25 who have not received their HPV vaccination can catch up by contacting their GP and arranging a vaccination.”

Single dose

Last August, Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, announced changes to the HPV vaccination programme in Wales following new guidance issued by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Ms Morgan confirmed the Welsh government would follow recommendations to move to one dose of the HPV vaccination for certain groups following what the JCVI described as  “compelling evidence” that a single dose of HPV vaccine could be sufficient to provide good and long-lasting protection when offered in early adolescence.

The HPV vaccine helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer, some mouth and throat cancers and some cancers of the anal and genital areas.

A recently published Cancer Research UK-funded study found that cervical cancer rates in women offered the vaccine between the ages of 12 and 13, and now in their 20s, were 87% lower than in an unvaccinated population.

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