Intended for healthcare professionals


Opportunity was missed in choice of cervical cancer vaccine, health campaigners say

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 26 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1456
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Girls throughout the United Kingdom will receive the human papillomavirus vaccine Cervarix in the national immunisation programme after it launches in September, the Department of Health has said.

Cervarix, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline, offers protection against human papillomavirus types 16 and 18, which are responsible for about 70% of cervical cancers.

In England, 300 000 girls aged 12 to 13 will be given the vaccine in the first year of the programme. In the next two years 1.8 million doses of vaccine will be dispensed for routine and catch-up vaccinations for girls aged 14 to 18.

Dawn Primarolo, the health minister, described the vaccine as “an exciting opportunity” that could save the lives of 400 women a year.

However, sexual health charities have expressed disappointment at the decision not to offer Sanofi Pasteur’s Gardasil …

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