News ID: 214763
Published: 0622 GMT May 09, 2018

HPV jab safe and effective, study finds

HPV jab safe and effective, study finds

The HPV vaccine routinely offered to teenage girls in the UK is safe and protects against a virus that can cause cancer of the cervix, an independent review has found.

Experts said that the analysis by the Cochrane Group provides solid evidence that should reassure parents considering having their daughters immunized, BBC wrote.

It looked at 26 trials involving more than 73,000 girls and women. Serious side effects following the vaccine were rare.

Campaigners maintain the vaccine can cause harm and say this needs to be explored more fully.

Some parents said their daughters have become unwell after being immunized.

The European Medicines Agency, The World Health Organization and now Cochrane have looked at the evidence and said HPV vaccination is safe and worthwhile.

Mary Ramsay, head of immunizations at Public Health England, explained, "This study adds to the wealth of growing evidence from around the world which shows that the HPV vaccine is the most effective way for young girls to protect themselves against cervical cancer.

"Most women aged between 15 and 25 years in the UK have now received the HPV vaccine."

Robert Music, from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said that although uptake of the vaccine in the UK is high, it is slipping.

"We cannot afford to get complacent. We must strive to reduce the myths and stigma around the vaccine."

Vaccine safety is kept under constant review and the Cochrane Group said that more data is required to provide greater certainty about very rare side effects.


What is the HPV vaccine?


Girls can get it free from the the National Health Service (NHS) from the age of 12 up to 18.

It is designed to stop them getting infected with a virus — Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) — which can cause abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix or neck of the womb that, if untreated, can lead to cancer.

The jab used by the NHS is called Gardasil and it protects against four strains of HPV — 16, 18, 6 and 11. Types 16 and 18 are the ‘high risk’ ones linked to cervical cancer.


What about older women?


The jab should be given before someone has come into contact with HPV.

The NHS does not offer the vaccine to women over the age of 18.

All women aged between 25 and 64 should still attend for regular smears even if they have been immunized.

The smear test can be used to check for HPV infection and to look for any pre-cancerous cell changes that might need treating.


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