Vaccinations protect people from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases that can lead to serious, or in some cases, fatal symptoms.
Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines under go long and careful review by scientists, doctors and the government to make sure that they are safe.
Despite this, there are still too many people who are not getting potentially life-saving vaccinations. This can be seen with the Men ACWY vaccine that is offered free to all 17 and 18 year olds and first time University entrants under 25. This age-group is deemed to be particularly at risk of catching the disease that this vaccine prevents - meningitis. The level of vaccine uptake was at just 33% last year.
The national NHS The Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme uses a vaccine called Gardasil. Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV: 6, 11, 16 and 18. Between them, types 16 and 18 are the cause of most cervical cancers in the UK (more than 70%).
These types of HPV also cause some anal and genital cancers, and some cancers of the head and neck. HPV types 6 and 11 cause around 90% of genital warts, so using Gardasil helps protect girls against both cervical cancer and genital warts.
HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, and it will not stop girls getting pregnant, so it's still very important to practise safe sex. The 1st dose of the HPV vaccine is routinely offered to girls and boys aged 12 and 13 in school Year 8. The 2nd dose is offered 6 to 24 months after the 1st dose.
Find out more about the HPV Vaccination Programme at HPV vaccine overview - NHS (www.nhs.uk).