Cancer jab "mandatory" for 11 to 12-year-olds

Girls between the ages of 11 and 12 should all receive a new vaccine against the virus responsible for the majority of cervical cancers, according to the Lancet medical journal.

The European Commission has granted a licence for Gardasil to be used in children between the ages of nine and 15 and women between 16 and 26.

The vaccine protects against types 16 and 18 of the human papilloma-virus (HPV), which are responsible for 70 per cent of all cervical cancers, as well as types six and 11, which cause around nine in ten cases of genital warts.

Although the vaccine is now available in many private clinics, the Department of Health has still not decided whether or not the vaccine should be made available on the NHS.

The US state of Michigan has ruled that all girls between the ages of 11 and 12 should be immunised but many people have voiced concerns that vaccination at such an early age could encourage underage sex.

However, the Lancet editorial argues: "EU member states should lead by making the vaccinations mandatory for all girls aged 11 to 12 years."

In addition, the editorial claims that boys should also receive the vaccine, as it says that a female-only approach would be only 60 to 75 per cent as effective as targeting both sexes.

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Cancer jab "mandatory" for 11 to 12-year-olds
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