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CNO outlines HPV vaccine programme

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The Chief Nursing Officer has written to PCTs outlining details of the forthcoming human papillomavirus immunisation programme.

The first cohort of girls, aged 12 to 13, will be offered the vaccine at the start of the next school year in September. It will be offered in three doses over six months to those born between 1 September 1995 and 31 August 1996.

The programme will be school based and PCTs have been told to ensure staffing levels are appropriate to deliver it, though unions have previously warned that school nurse levels are currently in crisis.

A two-year catch-up campaign will also start in September 2009 for girls aged up to 18.

‘HPV vaccination will save the lives of an estimated 400 women each year in the UK,’ the letter said.

‘It is important to note that the national cervical screening programme remains essential to the prevention of cervical cancer, and will remain unchanged following the introduction of HPV immunisation,’ it added.

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