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NHS Kingston

Cervical cancer vaccination

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix – which is the entrance to the womb. 99% of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. There are over 100 types of HPV but only 13 of them are known to cause cancer. The others are harmless or cause genital warts.

You get HPV by being sexually active with someone else who has it. It is very common and over half of all women who have sex will get infected with HPV at some time in their lifetime.

What does the HPV vaccine protects against?

The HPV vaccine protects against the two strains of HPV (16 and 18) that cause cervical cancer in over 70% of women. It does not protect against any other sexually transmitted infections or against pregnancy.

Because the HPV vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers, it is really important for all girls to have cervical screening later in life.

Who is the vaccine for?

Girls aged 12 and 13 are offered the HPV vaccine in year 8 of school. Girls up to 18 should also be able to access the vaccine via their GP, if they haven’t already had it. 

How many injections do I need?

You will need three doses of the vaccine over about a six-month period for the best protection against HPV. It is important to complete the course and have all three doses. Three vaccinations are needed over about a 6 month period – the second will be given 1-2 months after your first injection, and the third is given about 6 months after your first injection. 

Do I have to have it?

Vaccination is not compulsory – consent will be needed before the vaccination. For 12- to 13-year-olds it is most likely that a consent form signed by your parent or guardian will need to be supplied before the vaccine is given. Girls aged 16 and over are legally able to consent for themselves.

For more information on HPV follow right hand the link to the NHS immunisation website. 

For more information on Kingston’s HPV programme you can contact Nicola Pratelli, NHS Kingston’s Immunisation Nurse Lead, on 020 8339 8000 or by email to

Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, 2nd floor, Thames House,
180 High Street, Teddington, TW11 8HU
Tel: 020 39419900

NHS 111 NHS Choices