HPV vaccine: who can get the vaccine in Sheffield and what to do if you missed your injection

Research has shown the human papillomavirus, or HPV vaccine, is cutting cases of cervical cancer by almost 90 per cent.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 7:47 am

But LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor says many people have ‘slipped through the net’ when it comes to getting the vaccine.

It has issued advice to those who have missed out about how to ensure they are protected.

Since 2008, it says, the NHS has run a national HPV vaccination programme for girls aged 12 or 13 who are at school in the UK.

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The HPV vaccine has been shown to cut cases of cervical cancer by almost 90 per cent (pic: LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor)

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Today, free vaccines are also offered to boys of the same age. As part of the school programme, girls and boys who went to school in the UK can get the HPV vaccine for free up to their 25th birthday if they missed the opportunity in school.

However, because the programme was only brought in during 2008, that means there are millions of women who have missed their chance to get vaccinated.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women around the world, killing more than 300,000 each year.

Ninety-nine per cent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, but now researchers are hopeful that vaccinations could almost eliminate the disease.

People with cervixes are currently invited for a smear test every three to five years from the time they turn 25. The smear test checks the health of your cervix and also checks for high-risk types of HPV.

Who can get the vaccine?

For all of the people who were not offered a HPV vaccine when they were 12 or 13 in school, you might want to consider getting the vaccine.

People who went to school in the UK can get the HPV vaccine for free on the NHS up to their 25th birthday if they missed the opportunity in school.

Can I still get the vaccine if I’m over 25?

Yes. If you’re a woman or a man who has sex with women and you’re 25 or older, you’ll no longer be eligible for a free vaccine on the NHS. The HPV vaccine is available on a private basis. You can get yours at your nearest LloydsPharmacy store if you make an order through Online Doctor, and the vaccine is also available from other sources.

Trans men, trans women, and men who have sex with men can still receive a free vaccine until they’re 45 if their risk of HPV is considered high.

Can I get the vaccine if I’m from overseas?

It can be really challenging for people who live overseas to get access to the HPV vaccine. As a result, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor says it has seen a huge influx of students requesting the vaccine through its online service.

The vast majority of these international students are Chinese, as the vaccine is relatively difficult to access in China. The vaccine is administered in three doses over six months, giving plenty of time to fit in appointments during the academic year.

What is HPV?

HPV (human papillomavirus) refers to a common type of virus which affects your skin and moist membranes lining parts of your body such as the mouth, throat and genital area like the cervix, vagina, penis and anus.

There are around 100 different types of HPV, and most are harmless, but certain types can cause genital warts and potentially lead to cervical cancer.