Southend-on-Sea students help highlight importance of HPV vaccine

September 12, 2019

Southend-on-Sea students are helping to highlight the importance of a vaccine made available to boys across the UK.

Students from Chase High School

Student from Chase High School and Thorpe Hall School are the faces of a national campaign aiming to raise awareness of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.

Nurses from the Essex Partnership University NHS Trust (EPUT) will be visiting schools from September to deliver the vaccine which helps to protect against some types of cancer.

Until now the vaccine has only been offered to girls but, as part of a national directive, the HPV vaccination scheme has been extended to include boys aged 12 and 13.

Students from the schools in Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff and Wakering Road, Great Wakering were chosen to feature in some of the national information leaflets and posters about the benefits of the vaccine.

HPV vaccine protects against some cancers of the mouth, throat, anal and genital areas. It can also protect against genital warts and, in girls, also offers protection against cervical cancer.

A Government decision to offer the vaccination to boys was made in July 2018 as a result of scientific evidence and advice from an independent panel of experts.

Working in partnership with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, nurses from EPUT’s vaccination teams will be visiting schools to deliver vaccinations to boys whose parents have given prior consent.

Julie Thornton, Clinical Lead for immunisation services at EPUT, said: “HPV causes around 9,000 cancers each year in the UK, most of which can be prevented with the vaccine.  Globally, HPV is responsible for five per cent of all cancers.

“For any parent or carer, there is nothing more important than safeguarding their child’s health so we would encourage them to discuss the importance of having the vaccine with their children.”

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: “Following the success of the HPV vaccine for girls, I’m pleased the programme is being extended to include boys. As a parent you want to do all you can to protect your children from ill health, especially cancer, which is why the offer of this vaccine is so important.

“As the scientific evidence supports the fact that this vaccine protects boys from HPV then I urge parents to sign their children up to have it.”

Andrew James, Head Teacher at Chase High School, said: “We were very pleased to be asked to take part in this important national campaign and as a school we are offering the HPV vaccine to both boys and girls for the first time this year.

“We applaud the NHS strategies to reduce cancer across the country and we are happy to support their vital work.”

Andrew Hampton, Head Teacher at Thorpe Hall School, said:  “We were delighted our students could play a part in such an important campaign to raise awareness of the HPV vaccination for boys and its role in the prevention of many cancers.”

More information about HPV:

• HPV infections can be spread by any skin-to-skin contact and are usually found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals.

• The HPV vaccine works best if girls and boys get it before they become sexually active, to protect them through their teenage years and beyond.

• Unvaccinated, the virus can stay in the body for many years and then for no apparent reason, start to cause damage.

• The vaccine involves two injections, six months apart. Those receiving the vaccine over the age of 15, will need to have three doses. All injections are needed to be properly protected.

Anyone with questions about the HPV vaccination can contact the local immunisation team on 01702 220181.

More information can also be found on the NHS website.