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High uptake of cervical cancer jabs

Figures show that more than 90% of girls in Scotland offered a vaccine against cervical cancer have already had the first jab.

The immunisation programme began in September and all second-year girls have been offered the vaccine.

So far 92.5% have had the first dose, while 87.8% have been given the second injection. The aim is to protect girls against types 16 and 18 of the human papillomavirus, which cause 70% of cervical cancers.

The statistics relate to uptake rates for girls in the second, fifth and sixth year of secondary school and are particularly relevant following the death of celebrity Jade Goody, who lost her fight against cervical cancer this month.

The vaccination involves three injections over six months and there are plans to offer it to all teenage girls in Scotland.

Public health minister Shona Robison said: "These results are a testament to the hard work of health boards, particularly frontline nursing staff."

But Dr Martin Donaghy of Health Protection Scotland has warned that girls should still attend screening when they are invited from the age of 20 even if they have had the vaccination.

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