Girls in Wales aged 14 to 18 will be offered a vaccine to help prevent against cervical cancer, it has been announced.
The programme sees the teenage girls protected against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 99% of invasive cervical cancer.
The first round of the programme began last autumn when about 20,000 girls aged 12 to 13 were given the jab. Nearly 90% of schoolgirls in that age range have had their first vaccination and about 75% have had their second.
All girls in Wales born between September 1991 and August 1995 will be offered the vaccinations during the 2009/10 school year, instead of just those born between September 1991 and August 1993, as first planned.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “HPV vaccination is a very significant public health development and I would like Wales to press ahead by undertaking the catch-up campaign more quickly than planned. I recognise that additional efforts will be needed but am confident that local health professionals will rise to the challenge.”
She added: “We must remember that vaccination will not protect against all HPV infections so it is important that everyone attends cervical cancer screening when they are called.”
Copyright © Press Association 2009