Press release

HPV vaccine to change in September 2012

From next September, a different vaccine will be used in the HPV vaccination programme, the Department of Health has announced today

From next September, a different vaccine will be used in the HPV vaccination programme, the Department of Health has announced today.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, Gardasil, supplied by Sanofi Pasteur MSD, will be the vaccine used in the next school year.

Gardasil protects against the two types of HPV virus that cause more than 70 per cent of cervical cancer in England and two types of HPV virus that cause 90 per cent of genital warts.

The HPV programme was implemented in September 2008 following advice from the independent experts on Immunisation. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that the HPV vaccine should be offered routinely to females aged 12 to 13 years, and we also offered a catch-up programme for girls up to 18 years of age. Since then, 1.5 million young women and girls have been protected.

Professor David Salisbury, the government’s Director of Immunisation, said:

“From next September, Gardasil will be the vaccine that we offer to girls to protect them against the HPV infection. It’s not unusual for the NHS to change vaccines or other medicines - it can happen following competitive tendering exercises or when new research findings come to light.

“Young women and girls who have already been vaccinated or who are due to be vaccinated before September, do not need to be vaccinated again. They have done exactly the right thing and they can be assured that they are protected against types of HPV virus that cause over 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

“We have one of the best HPV vaccination programmes in the world and we want that success to continue. It will be tremendous to see rates of cervical cancer falling. The number of women getting abnormal results from HPV screening will also fall. Many women will no longer have to live through the worry and stress of follow-up after screening, including treatment for precancerous lesions.”

Notes to editors

The routine HPV vaccine programme was introduced in September 2008 for girls aged 12-13 years in school year 8. 

A catch-up programme also started in September 2008 and offered the vaccine to older girls up to the age of 18:

  • Girls/young women aged 17 - 18 years (school year 13) - born between 1 September 1990 to 31 August 1991 inclusive - were offered the vaccine in the 2008/09 school year.
  • Girls/young women aged 14-18 years (school years 10, 11, 12 and  13 if in education) - born between 1 September 1991 and 31 August 1995 inclusive- were offered the vaccine from autumn 2009. 

In most PCTs, the catch-up programme ended in August 2010.

Primary Care Trusts are responsible for the delivery of the vaccination programme in their local area. A schools-based programme is recommended by the Department for the routine vaccination programme (12-13 year olds), as vaccination will be delivered most efficiently through schools.  Some PCTs chose to implement a GP-based programme. Vaccination is voluntary, not mandatory.

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