Cervical cancer jab plea to younger girls

DERBYSHIRE is hoping to repeat its recent success in protecting older girls against the future risk of cervical cancer with younger girls.

Recent Department of Health figures showed that NHS Derbyshire County has the best rates in the East Midlands when it comes to vaccinating older teenage girls – with 57.9 per cent of girls aged 17 to 18 and 64.8 per cent of girls aged 16 to 17 getting all three necessary doses of the life-saving jab since 1 April 2009.

Now public health bosses at NHS Derbyshire County say they want to increase take-up in younger girls.

Linda Syson-Nibbs, public health consultant for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “Our GPs have done a fantastic job vaccinating the older girls, and we’re really proud of the work they’ve done so far.

“The national vaccination programme was introduced in 2008, so we’ve been concentrating our efforts on making sure older girls benefited from this life-saving jab as we knew there were fewer opportunities for us to do this.

“But there are still plenty of opportunities for younger girls to get the jab, and we’d urge any girl aged twelve to eighteen to have it and protect themselves against the two most commonest types of cervical cancer.”

In Derbyshire teenage girls have been getting their jab through their local GP surgery rather than through their school.

“GPs have the ability to rearrange, remind and recall patients who miss appointments. So if a teenager misses an appointment, then it’s not a case of ‘that’s it, that’s the end of the story’,” added Ms Syson-Nibbs.

Cervical cancer hit the headlines two years ago when celebrity Jade Goody tragically lost her life to the illness at the tender age of 27.

Girls need to get three doses of the vaccine to ensure they are fully protected. The programme is targeted at teenage girls aged between 12 and 18.