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Boots pilots cervical cancer vaccine

UK high street chemist, Boots, is piloting a private cervical cancer vaccination service for young women in 10 of its London stores

UK high street chemist, Boots, is piloting a private cervical cancer vaccination service for in 10 of its London stores for young women who fall outside the government's vaccination programme.

It has reported a 48 per cent rise in demand for its Boots Pharmacy+ cervical cancer vaccination service over the last six weeks.  

The service is aimed at 18 to 26 year old women and was developed as a result of research carried out in 2007 in which 65 per cent of women said they would visit a pharmacy to request and buy the vaccine.

Those wishing to have the vaccination must be registered with a GP. They have a consultation with the pharmacist to ensure eligibility and to receive general advice on sexual health. It comprises a course of three injections given over six months, each costing £135, making a total cost of £405.

The vaccination helps protect against the most common cancer-causing types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), but it does not protect against all the cancer-causing viruses, so women will still need to attend regular cervical screening and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Boots pharmacist, Sacchin Patel, commented "Both research and recent tragic events portrayed in the media have shown that increased education about HPV is making young women reassess their risk of developing cervical cancer. The introduction of a vaccination programme available to buy on the high street means it is easy for those interested to receive the vaccine and help protect themselves against two of the viruses that cause most cases of cervical cancer."

The national NHS vaccination programme for girls aged 12 and 13 was launched in schools in September 2008 and a catch-up service for girls aged 14 to 18 is being rolled out.

Boots is providing the service through a private patient group direction (PGD). Under the PGD, its specially trained pharmacists can supply certain prescription medicines to specified groups of patients under strict protocols, without the need for individual prescriptions.

13th May 2009

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