Because staff are so busy with Covid vaccinations, the NHS is causing outrage.

This week’s data revealed that the Human Papillomavirus HPV vaccine reduces cervical cancer incidence by close to 90%.

But Hertfordshire’s school age immunisation service has controversially postponed the rollout to focus on coronavirus.

The HPV jab was to be administered to hundreds of students in year 8, but it has been pushed back until next summer.

Data published earlier this week revealed the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine cuts cervical cancer case by almost 90 per cent [File photo]

The Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), which was released earlier in the week, reduced cervical cancer cases by nearly 90 percent according to data. [File photo]

It is best for both girls and boys to get the vaccine before coming in contact with HPV. This means that they should be able to inject themselves before becoming sexually active.

It helps protect against HPV cancers such as penile and cervical cancers and mouth, throat and other types of cancers.

This was originally introduced in 2008 for girls and expanded to 2019 for boys.

The October 2018 figures show that 59.5 per cent of the girls had their HPV vaccination and 54.4 per percent of the boys did.

This contrasts to 88% for girls in the preceding year.

The first dose is usually given to children in the eighth year. Six to 24 months later, they receive their second.

The vaccine is available to over-15s who have missed it, up until their 25th birthday. However, they must have at least three doses.

Hertfordshire¿s school age immunisation service has controversially postponed the rollout to focus on coronavirus  [File photo]

Hertfordshire’s school age immunisation service has controversially postponed the rollout to focus on coronavirus  [File photo]

Hertfordshire told parents last month that first doses will now be offered in summer 2022, with ‘completion’ in the next academic year.

However, those due to turn 15 soon will be ‘prioritised’ before the summer.

NHS England said it is ‘currently unaware’ of any other issues with distributing the HPV jab nationally but would ‘continue to monitor the situation’.

Labour MP Jess Phillips, who has previously told how she was diagnosed with HPV in her twenties, said: ‘It is vitally important that every effort is made to ensure children are not left at risk of cancer because the Government has failed to plan two years into the pandemic.

‘It will cost lives and also money if this generation of children don’t receive the vaccine.’ And Liberal Democrat health spokesman Daisy Cooper said: ‘Only this week the benefits of the HPV vaccine were shown to have saved thousands of women’s lives.

‘It is critical that school children get this vaccine on time this year after the disruption over the pandemic, so that no one misses out.

‘The Government have put our schools, teachers and GPs at the bottom of the pile during this pandemic.

‘They need to provide the support and resources to our overstretched NHS and school staff so that they can roll out both the HPV and Covid vaccines at the same time.’ Hertfordshire has around 120 schools with around 1,000 12 and 13-year-olds on their rolls.

The Hertfordshire average was 24.2 percent, with 37% more Covid vaccination uptake than England’s average of 24.21%.

The jabs service said delivering vaccines had been ‘challenging’ during the pandemic, but children had been prioritised and vaccines remained available.

The NHS’s schedule allows flexibility to accommodate different vaccination programmes for teenagers, with HPV not considered a seasonal virus.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘While small delays are understandable due to Covid-19, the HPV vaccine is most effective when given at a younger age, so it’s important that young people are given the option to have it and that delivery gets back on track as soon as feasible.’ 

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it illustrated ‘the huge pressure’ on the school age immunisation service of running the Covid vaccination programme.

This week’s Lancet study revealed that the HPV jab can reduce cervical cancer risk by reducing pre-cancerous growths as well as an 87% reduction in cervical carcinoma.

Malcolm Clark, senior cancer prevention policy manager at Cancer Research UK, said the research shows the importance of providing access to the jabs, adding: ‘We would hope to see the vaccination back up and running in these areas as soon as feasible.’ 

Samantha Dixon, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: ‘The HPV vaccine is an important tool in the fight against cervical cancer, so it is not ideal that Covid continues to impact delivery.

‘Every effort must be made to ensure no child misses the opportunity to access the vaccination and that they, along with their parents, have all the information they need.

‘Vaccines are very much in the public eye right now and we must closely monitor uptake to ensure we do not see the numbers benefitting from the HPV vaccine drop.

‘Prioritising those who are soon to be 15 is important as, after that age, two doses instead of three are needed and this introduces more risk of a child not completing the course.’ Lisa Hallgarten, head of policy at Brook sexual health charity, said she hoped any HPV vaccine programmes disrupted by the pandemic would ‘get back on track, and that there is a catch-up scheme to ensure any young people who may have missed out still receive their dose of this lifesaving vaccine as soon as possible’.