A VACCINATION programme which aims to protect against the virus that causes most types of cervical cancer is being rolled out across Flintshire and Wrexham schools.
All Year 8 girls are being offered the vaccination to protect against the human papilloma virus (HPV).
The take-up of the first dose of three injections was extremely high with 90% of the 1,500 girls invited coming forward.
School nurses have also provided vaccination advice and explained why it’s so important to protect against cervical cancer in the future.
A Flintshire Local Health Board spokesman said: “This is a major health promoting campaign. Plans will be developed to offer the vaccination to older girls in the next academic year.
“If girls don’t have these vaccinations, they’ll not be protected against the most common cause of cervical cancer.
“HPV viruses cause 99% of invasive cervical cancer. The vaccine protects against the viruses responsible for about 70% of cases.Š
“Prevention is always better than cure and this vaccine will prevent many women from catching the human papilloma virus in the first place.”
The Welsh Assembly Government-funded HPV vaccine doesn’t replace regular cervical screening.Š
Routine cervical cancer screening (smear tests) of women aged between 20 and 64 will continue every three years.
However, the benefits of introducing the vaccine into the national immunisation programme will be felt by women and their families for generations to come and save hundreds of lives.
A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: “Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 35.
“The vaccine will not completely wipe out cervical cancer because it doesn’t protect against every type of high risk HPV.
“Now and for the foreseeable future, it’s vital women go for cervical screening when they’re invited. Screening can prevent cervical cancer by detecting unusual changes in the cervix before cancer develops.
“It saves about 5,000 lives in Britain each year. Our message is to take up the opportunity to get vaccinated, but it’s equally important to go for screening when you’re invited.”
For more information, log on to beatingcervicalcancer.org.uk.