A routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of girls aged 12 to 13 in Scotland has led to a significant reduction in cervical disease in later life, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal.
Researchers analysed vaccination and screening records for 138,692 women born between 1988 and 1996 who had a screening test result recorded at age 20.
After taking account of other important factors, vaccinated women born in 1995 and 1996 showed a 79-89 per cent reduction in levels of abnormal cells and cervical lesions compared with unvaccinated women born in 1988.
In addition, a younger age at vaccination was associated with increasing vaccine effectiveness. Unvaccinated women also showed a reduction in cervical disease, which the researchers put down to herd protection.
The researchers concluded: “The findings emphasise the credibility of using high-risk HPV infection as an early marker of the effectiveness and success of the vaccine and underpin the recent call for global action on cervical cancer.”