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Cervical cancer vaccine launched

Jab will be available privately


handing holding syringe

A new vaccine which aims to offer protection against cervical cancer is launched in the UK today.

The vaccine, Cervarix, is said to guard against the two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause the majority of cervical cancers, according to pharmaceutical firm GlaxKline.

It will be available on private prescription only, at a cost of £240 for three injections. The jab has not yet been approved by government for use on the NHS.

In June the government announced that girls as young as 12 could be vaccinated against cervical cancer from as early as autumn next year.

Cause of cervical cancer

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the use of jabs to protect against the sexually transmitted infection HPV, which causes most cases of cervical cancer.

The Department of Health said it had agreed ‘in principle’ to accept the JCVI’s advice, subject to an independent review of the costs to the NHS.

The jabs would not be compulsory but would be offered to girls in all parts of the UK.

Cervarix is one of two jabs designed to be used in a vaccination programme.The other, Gardasil, is made by Merck and Sanofi Pasteur and was introduced into the UK last year. Like Cervarix, it is not yet approved by government for use on the NHS.

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