‘Every Young Girl To Have Cervical Cancer Vaccine’

Campaigners are calling for all young girls to be given a cervical cancer vaccine by the end of the next school year.

Jo’s Trust, a cervical cancer charity, yesterday urged the Welsh Assembly Government to pressure the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) to urgently make its recommendations on a nationwide HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination programme.

It wants schoolchildren to be in place during the 2007-08 school year. Any delay will mean that a whole year of girls starting secondary school in September will not be protected against HPV, which is a major cause of cervical cancer.

Pamela Morton, director of Jo’s Trust, told the Assembly’s All-Party Group on Cancer, “The JCVI met once last year and once again this year to deliberate on the best course of action to implement what is now recognised internationally as a lifesaving advance in the prevention of cancer.

“If the JCVI waits until their next meeting in June to recommend action, there will not be enough time for preparations to be made in Wales so that a vaccination programme can be started in the coming school year.

“A delay will mean that a year group of young women entering secondary school in September this year will be unprotected against the HPV infection. On current Welsh data this means more than 50 of these young women will lose their lives at some point to cervical cancer. Many others will suffer the consequences of radical surgery to tackle pre-cancer and other HPV related conditions.”