Teenage girls should now be offered two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine instead of three, Public Health England (PHE) has announced.
Research has shown that the protection afforded by two doses of vaccine lasts just as long as a three-dose course.
The new schedule will start at the beginning of the next academic year, in September 2014/15.
The first dose should be given at any time during school year eight as long as the girl is either 12 or 13.
And the second dose can be given between six and 24 months after the first.
PHE is discussing the best way to deliver the programme with local area teams and this might involve giving the first HPV vaccine dose to year 8 girls, and the second dose 12 months later, when the girls are in year 9.
Public Health England’s vaccine update for April reads: “All vaccination programmes are kept under constant review so they can be improved in the light of experience.”
Emerging evidence has shown that the number of young people with pre-cancerous lesions is falling. Current indications are that this protection will last for at least 20 years.
More information is available in the PHE vaccine update, which can be found online.