Here's 6 reasons for why the HPV vaccine is so important:
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. There's hundreds of these types of viruses but some of them can lead to harmful cancerous cells.
1. It's the right time
From 12 years old it’s the right time to vaccinate because research shows that early teens is the best age to start HPV vaccination. Your body can build up resistance and take up the immunisation better to protect you.
2. To protect
There are many types of HPV, the HPV vaccine protects against 2 types that cause most cases (over 70%) of cervical cancer. HPV is passed on through close intimate contact between partners and in most cases it will not cause any harm and will clear by itself but on occasions it can alter the cells in the cervix ( the opening to the womb), which can become cancerous. Having the HPV vaccination is important because we don’t know who is at risk of going on to develop cancer.
From birth vaccines have been offered to protect you from many diseases and over your lifetime you’ll continue to be offered more. For more information on secondary school vaccinations have a look at Immunisation In Secondary Schools: Just The Facts.
3. Having the vaccination
Girls will be offered the first injection in year 8. The second dose will be offered 6 months after the first, but it can be given up to 24 months after.
It’s important that you have both doses to be protected.
4. It's available
You’ll be given the vaccine by a nurse who will visit you in school.
You and your parent/carers should have completed a consent form beforehand.
If you’re nervous, have any questions or worries they can help!
5. It's easy
The vaccine is an injection – but don’t worry because they’re quick. Our nurses who will be giving you the injection do thousands of vaccinations every year!
Having the full course of the HPV vaccine will help to reduce the risk of the cervical cells changing to cancer. Studies tell us that the two doses of HPV vaccine is enough to give long lasting protection to younger girls.
6. How do I know if something isn't right?
There are not always signs of the HPV but any unusual bleeding which is not connected to your periods should be checked out by a doctor.
Cervical screening also known as a smear test checks if the cells around the cervix are healthy. It’s offered to all women aged 25 and over and it is really important to have this check even if you have had the HPV vaccine.
how to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.