About one in three girls in several parts of the UK did not have their full vaccination against HPV or human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer, in 2017-18, according to a new report.
There are nearly 100 strains of HPV, of which HPV-16 and HPV-18 have been linked to about 70% cases of cervical cancer.
Almost every case of cervical cancer is associated with infection due to one or more HPV risk, while some of the low-risk types of HPV are likely to cause genital warts.
The HPV vaccine prevents infections linked with four type of the virus that may lead to around 80% cases of cervical cancer and almost every case of genital warts.
Two doses of the HPV vaccine must be taken to ensure full immunity, which effectively prevents girls from getting the types of high-risk HPV that cause most cervical cancer, according to NHS, and a single dose is considered to provide inadequate protection.
New data shows that in total, 57,048 girls in some parts of the UK did not receive the two doses required for the vaccine to be effective and give complete immunization.
The national target of immunizing at least 80% of girls has been achieved, but the rate varied between local authority areas, BBC news reported. Despite the reported statistics, Public Health England (PHE) said the vaccination campaign was stable and consistent.
Generally, the first dose is given to girls between the ages of 12-13 years, and the second dose is offered 6-12 months later. This year, a total of 354,658 girls were eligible for the HPV vaccine.
According to PHE statistics, just 83.3% of eligible girls dose were fully immunized, indicating one in six did not receive the second dose, while over 10% of them missed both the doses.
Significant variations were recorded from area to area, for example, 80.3% in Wales, 86.6% in Scotland, and 84.7% in Northern Ireland.
PHE reports also revealed that 65% of the eligible individuals in some parts of London such as Fulham and Hammersmith were vaccinated, while in other areas including Tameside, Portsmouth, and North Yorkshire, more than 90% of the girls were fully immunized.
According to Robert Music, chief executive of charity Jo’s Cervical Center Trust, in a view of wide disparity between several regions in England, the overall rate should not result in official complacency.
Cultural barriers and myths about the HPV and its vaccine could contribute to lower up-takes rates, Music said. Moreover, concerns over the safety of the vaccine can have a very damaging effect, he added.
According to NHS team, language barriers and religio-cultural beliefs may also affect the rate of vaccine uptake across England. Further, in areas with large population of non-white residents, there were more refusals of parents.