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Nine out of ten schoolgirls in Scotland receive cervical cancer vaccine

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Figures show that more than 90% of schoolgirls in Scotland offered a vaccine against cervical cancer have had the first injection, and the uptake for the second dose is also high.

The vaccine involves three jabs over six months and the take-up rate for the first dose for girls in the second, fifth and sixth year of secondary school is 92.5%.

The take-up rate for the second dose, which is still being administered, is 87.8%.

The immunisation programme began in September and offers the vaccine to all second-year girls. It will eventually be available to schoolgirls as they enter their teens.

Older girls up to the age of 18 will also be offered a one-off catch-up exercise, lasting three years.

Public health minister Shona Robison said: ‘These results are a testament to the hard work of health boards, particularly frontline nursing staff.’

It is hoped that the vaccination will protect girls against types 16 and 18 of the human papillomavirus, which causes 70% of cervical cancer and recently claimed the life of celebrity Jade Goody.

But Dr Martin Donaghy of Health Protection Scotland says that even if girls have had the jabs they still need to attend screening when they are invited from the age of 20.

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