Cervical Cancer

The Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme At The King’s School

A new Government vaccination programme aims to vaccinate all girls under 18 with Cervarix. Every girl in year 8 will be offered the vaccination which will be given by the school nurses (Michelle Perryman and collegues) at The King’s School Ottery.
Over the next 4 years a catch up programme will take place where girls in the 6th form will be offered the Cervarix vaccine until all girl under 18 have been immunized.

The Cervarix HPV vaccine protects against the two strains of HPV (16 and 18) that cause cervical cancer in over 70%of women.

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. There are over 100 types of HPV but only 13 of them are known to cause cancer. The others are harmless or cause genital warts.

You get HPV by being sexually active with someone else who has it. It is very common and over half of all women who have sex will get infected with HPV at some time in their lifetime.

It does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections or against pregnancy.
Remember: Always use a condom to protect you against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Because the HPV vaccine does not protect against ALL cervical cancers, it is really important for all girls to have cervical screening later in life. The NHS cervical screening programme will continue after the introduction of the HPV vaccine (cervical screening in England is offered from the age of 25).

How HPV can cause cervical cancer
Most HPV infections are harmless or cause genital warts, however some types can cause cervical cancer.
Most HPV infections clear up by themselves, but in some people the infection can last a long time. HPV infects the cells of the surface of the cervix where it can stay for many years without you knowing. The HPV virus can damage these cells leading to changes in their appearance. Over time, these changes can develop into cervical cancer.

Where is my cervix?
The cervix is the entrance to the womb (uterus) Here is a picture so you can see where your cervix is:

More about the Cervarix vaccine
How effective is HPV vaccine?
The vaccine is 99% effective in preventing the cervical abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18.
How long does protection last for?
High levels of protection have been shown for at least six years in follow-up studies (and these studies will be continued for many years). Longer lasting protection is expected as antibody levels in vaccinated women have remained very high, well above the levels seen from natural infection in fact.
Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
As with most vaccines, the most common side effect is mild to moderate swelling, redness and pain at the site where the injection is given. Other mild side effects, such as slightly raised temperature, sickness, dizziness, diarrhoea and muscle aches have been reported.
Very rarely, as with most vaccines, some people have an allergic reaction soon after immunisation. This reaction may be a rash or itching affecting part or all of the body. The nurse will know how to treat this. It is not a reason to stop having HPV vaccinations.
Even more rarely, people can have a bad reaction, within a few minutes of the injection usually, with breathing difficulties and collapse. This is called an anaphylactic reaction. These are extremely rare and the nurse or doctor is trained to deal with vaccine anaphylactic reactions. Individuals recover completely with treatment, usually within a few.
Will the vaccine stop any medicine I’m taking from working?
There is no evidence that the vaccination reduces the effectiveness of any medicine or the contraceptive pill
What about girls who have allergies or other illnesses, can they still have the HPV vaccination?
There are very few individuals who cannot receive HPV vaccine. Problems like food allergies, asthma, eczema and hay fever do not prevent someone from having this vaccine. If you have any concerns, speak to your School Nurse, Michelle Perryman or your doctor.

Any Questions?
Talk to your GP or The King’s School Nurse Michelle Perryman

This information has been taken from the Government immunisation website
For more information visit:

The King's School 2008