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The latest figures from Public Health England show 89.4% of eligible girls in England received their first HPV vaccination in 2014/15 . While coverage is high, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust hope to see coverage start an upward trend to bring England in line with coverage in Scotland and Northern Ireland which is currently at 91% (coverage in Wales for the first dose is at 86.8%).
Offered to all 12-13 year old girls in schools, the vaccination is part of a national programme to protect against 70% of cervical cancers, yet a 1.7% decrease in girls receiving their first dose has been reported in England with some areas seeing a drop of up to 7.3%.
In September 2014 the programme changed from a three to two-dose schedule as a result of evidence which showed that the antibody response to two doses of the vaccine in adolescent females is as good as a three-dose course.
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "Coverage figures for the vaccine continue to be high which is positive. We hope that the decrease in 1st dose coverage is simply down to the recent changes to the vaccination programme and that through re-inviting girls in the 2105/16 school year the figures will increase. However we must all ensure we do all we can to get coverage as high as possible and in particular in areas where it is well below the national average. Research has shown if uptake of the full course of the vaccination is 80% by 2025 two thirds of cervical cancers in women under the age of 30 years old could be prevented  and so the impact of 90% or higher can be even more significant.
Therefore we must ensure that messages about the importance of the HPV vaccination and its role in cervical cancer prevention are prevalent in schools and local authorities in order to get more girls vaccinated against this potentially life threatening disease and to get us even closer to eradicating cervical cancer completely."