Am I eligible to have the vaccine?
If you have missed any injections please speak to your school nurse.
Young women born between 1 September 1990 and August 1995 who are still eligible will be offered 3 injections over 6 months as part of the one off catch-up campaign. Young women who have not been invited, or have not completed the 3 dose course, are encouraged to contact their GP immediately. The catch-up campaign for this cohort has being extended until 31 August 2011.
The routine HPV immunisation programme is designed for girls who are at an age when they’ll get maximum benefit from the vaccine. Although the vaccine is licensed for use up to the age of 25, it will not be offered routinely to women over 18.
Women over 18 who have not been exposed to HPV may still benefit from vaccination however. These women are most likely to be either a virgin or have had limited exposure to HPV with close sexual contact.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 25 years and think you might still benefit from vaccination you may wish to discuss this with your GP.
Women aged 26 years of age and over
The routine HPV immunisation programme is designed for girls and young women who are at an age when they’ll get maximum benefit from the vaccine. The vaccine used in the programme is not licensed for use in older women (Over 25 years).
All women can still protect themselves from the virus in other ways. Women who are sexually active should practice safer sex to reduce the risk of catching HPV or any other sexually transmitted infection.
Men and boys
The purpose of the HPV immunisation programme is to protect girls and young women against cervical cancer. Boys do not get cervical cancer (because they don’t have a cervix) but, although HPV can cause cancer of the penis or anus this is rare. By protecting girls against the two most common causes of cervical cancer, eventually there will be fewer viruses circulating. This means everybody’s level of protection will be raised. This means that the risk of boys coming into contact with these viruses will fall.
People who are sexually active will still need to understand the importance of safer sex so they know how to reduce the risk of catching and spreading HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.
If you want more information about sexual health speak to your nurse or doctor, or visit one of the websites listed: