Schools blocking cervical cancer vaccine on religious groundsCurrent affairs
Schools across England are opting out of cervical cancer vaccines for students on religious grounds.
The HPV vaccine protects females against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is spread through intimate contact which causes cervical cancer.
It is currently offered to girls aged 12-13, but some schools have decided to opt out of having the jab, as some of their pupils follow a strict faith and do not have pre-marital sex.
Reports say that local GPs, where girls could be offered the vaccine, are not being told about schools opting out of the HPV vaccination program.
Dr George Kassianos from RCGP Immunisation told GP magazine: “If GPs are going to be provided with vaccines and there is an agreement that GPs can vaccinate those falling behind, then it is even more important that GPs are informed of who has missed HPV vaccination at school…None of our immunisations are compulsory. We therefore must accept that some children or adults will not be vaccinated. It is hard to understand how immunisation against cancer can be rejected but that is how it is out there in the community.”
The Cervarix vaccine was introduced in the UK in 2008, and over four million doses were administered by 2010.
Official figures show that approximately eight out of ten girls eligible for the vaccine in 2010 received it.