TEENAGE girls are being urged to take up the HPV vaccine, which helps prevent cervical cancer, after figures revealed that nearly 20 per cent of girls eligible for it did not receive it.
Figures released by the Department of Health revealed that only 81.2 per cent of girls in Year Eight had received the vaccine by the end of October last year.
However, while more girls are being urged by health chiefs to take up the vaccine, Wigan is still ahead of the North West as a whole, where only 73.8 per cent of 12-13 year old girls received the vaccine, which in turn is better than the national average of 68.9 per cent.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine dramatically reduces the risk of cervical cancer and is currently available across the UK the vaccine is licensed for girls aged nine to 15 and for women aged 16 to 26.
Wigan Borough’s Director of Public Health, Dr Kate Ardern said: “Over 99 per cent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV infection. Of these, seven out of 10 are caused by two particular strains of HPV.
“The HPV vaccine protects against both of these strains. Women protected by this vaccine reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer by 70 per cent.
“For this reason, I strongly urge all parents and guardians to give their consent for this vaccine to ensure their daughters are protected against cervical cancer.”
Further information is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/HPV-vaccination