Changes are being made to how young people in the Black Country receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
HPV refers to a group of very common viruses, called the human papillomavirus, which live in the skin in and around the genital area. HPV infections can happen in girls and boys – and they mainly affect the mouth, throat or genital area.
The HPV vaccine programme is offered to children in school at the age of 12 to 13 and is used to prevent a range of cancers, including cervical cancer, cancers of the head and neck, and cancers of the anus and genital areas.
Following recent guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the routine HPV vaccination programme will change from two doses to one dose from the 1 September.
Those who have received one dose of the vaccine prior to September 2023 will be considered fully vaccinated. Children and young people who missed out on their one dose HPV vaccine can catch up until their 25th birthday via their GP practice.
Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “The HPV vaccine has been part of the NHS routine vaccination schedule since 2008 and is one of the most successful in the world, with high uptake and millions of doses given.
“Recent research has shown one dose of the vaccine is as effective as having two, which is brilliant news for young people, making it easier than ever to reduce the risk of some cancers caused by HPV.
“Children and young people who have missed out on their HPV vaccinations should contact their school nurse, school immunisation team or GP surgery to arrange a catch-up as soon as possible – it could be lifesaving.”
Gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men can get the HPV vaccine through sexual health clinics up until the age of 45, this includes those that are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system.