By Nicci Talbot
How safe is the cervical cancer jab and which vaccine should you go for? Here’s how Gardasil and Cervarix compare, and what the research trials show so far.
There are two vaccines on the market that protect against the high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has been linked to cervical cancer. Gardasil has been around for longer and protects against four strains of HPV – 16 & 18 (high-risk), and 6 & 11, which cause genital warts. Sanofi Pasteur make it and it was licensed in the UK in 2006 for females aged 9-26. Cervarix protects girls from strains 16 & 18 but not genital warts. GlaxoSmithKline make it and was licensed in the UK in 2007 for females aged 10-25.
A Political Choice
Cervarix was chosen for the NHS HPV vaccination programme, which means it is free for girls aged 12-18 years in the UK. At the time this decision levelled a lot of criticism as some experts believe it is an inferior vaccine, does not offer full protection from HPV, and was chosen because it was the cheaper option despite a lack of track record. Gardasil has been used in Europe and the US for longer, and was made compulsory in Texas in February 2007. However, at present parents in the UK have to ‘opt-in’ and the vaccine isn’t compulsory.The Department of Health said at the time that [we] “chose Cervarix for the national HPV immunisation programme as it offered the NHS best overall value.” Simply put, as each vaccination costs them £400. Is the HPV Vaccine Safe and Effective? Read more …..