The school age immunisations team at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) have commenced their Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination programme this month, as the team begins visiting secondary schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to ensure young people receive the protection they need.
This year, for the first time, the vaccine is being offered to boys in Year 8 as well as girls.
There are more than 200 strains of HPV, but the vaccine protects against the four most dangerous of these, which can cause various cancers, including cervical cancer, penile and anal cancer and some throat cancers.
The vaccine is administered via a small injection at the top of the arm which only takes a few seconds. Two does are required to give full protection, and these are offered six months apart. The vaccination programme targets 12 and 13 year olds in Year 8, since as they grow their levels of resistance will also increase.
The school age immunisations service has also introduced an electronic consent form, available at www.leicsandrutlandimms.co.uk to make the process as easy as possible for schools, young people, parents and carers.
LPT’s Health for Teens website provides lots of information and mythbusting advice for young people about HPV, including a new video ‘HPV: Your Questions Answered’ featuring two immunisations nurses (www.healthforteens.co.uk/health/immunisation).
Alongside the HPV vaccine, Year 8 pupils who, according to their child health record, have not received both doses of the Mumps Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine as infants, will be offered further protection against these diseases. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes result in serious complications, and there have been some outbreaks in the UK and Europe over the last couple of years. As there is no treatment for the disease, vaccination is the only way of preventing it.
Suzanne Leatherland, children’s immunisations lead at LPT, said:
“In July 2018, it was announced that the HPV vaccine would be extended to boys. This will help prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in both boys and girls. The vaccination programme is vital in saving lives, and we look forward to working closely with all our schools to ensure we protect as many of our young people as possible. Further information about the HPV and the vaccine is available at www.nhs.uk. ”