Surgery starts vaccine drive

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A GP surgery has launched a drive urging young girls to book appointments to have the cervical cancer jab.

Staff from Littlewick Medical Centre will be visiting high schools in Ilkeston tomorrow to talk to more than 300 students about the benefits of the vaccine.

Practice manager, Diane Perry, said: “We’re all looking for a cure for cancer, or something that prevents it and that’s exactly what this vaccine does yet a disappointingly low number of people are having it.

“As a surgery we want to make sure that girls and their parents know what the vaccine is, how it works and make sure that they are protecting themselves against cervical cancer.”

Figures show that in Derbyshire alone, 20 girls from each school year will die from cervical cancer every year, five of them from Erewash, if they do not have the vaccination.

Derbyshire is the only county in the country where girls do not automatically receive the jabs at school.

And Littlewick staff believe this is why there has been a low uptake.

By speaking to girls in year eight at all of Ilkeston’s senior schools they hope to boost the number of patients getting the injections.

Practice nurse Alison Atkins and senior receptionist Adrienne Moloney, have been tasked with getting girls along to their local surgery for the three injections.

Adrienne, 24, said: “I’m too old to have had the vaccine but if I was young enough I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

“We want to make sure that all of the girls that should have the HVP jabs do get it done.”

Alison added: “We don’t want to be the county in 20 years with the highest rate of cervical cancer and that’s where we’re heading at the moment.

“I’ve got three teenage daughters and all of them have had their vaccines, it’s so important.

“Another thing we need to make sure is that people come in for all three parts of the injection.

“We’re working closely with schools and school nurses, without them we couldn’t reach all of the girls we want to.”

The surgery also want to reassure parents that having the vaccine doesn’t encourage youngsters to have sex.

Diane said: “The reason girls aged 12 to 13 have the vaccine is because that’s when the manufacturer says it works best.

“Having the vaccine doesn’t mean girls are sexually active or will be any time soon.”

At the talks the pupils will be handed information packs including leaflets with contact details for all of Ilkeston’s surgeries, who are backing the drive.

Alison and Adrienne have also organised a drop-in session for Littlewick patients on Monday March 19 between 5pm and 7pm.

If you would like to go to the session or for more information call Adrienne on 0115 9325229 or email adrienne.moloney@nhs.net.