The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is expected to decide in June this year whether the vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes 70% of cervical cancer cases, should be made available to 11 and 12 year olds in schools. Some parents are already paying £450 for their daughters to be vaccinated privately. Every year about 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in Britain and almost 1,100 women die from the disease.
But when the vaccine was made compulsory for children in Texas last month, a debate erupted over its safety. And in this country, some are questioning whether another vaccination should be added to what is already a long list. How should parents decide the medical pros and cons? Jenni will be discussing the issue with Anne Szarewski, who has been involved in the trials for the HPV vaccine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine in London and Jacqueline Laing, Senior Lecturer in Law at London Metropolitan University.