The Cervarix vaccine – Well Woman Clinic
The Cervarix vaccine is one of two vaccines approved here in the UK to protect against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
What is HPV?
HPV is a virus that is transmitted during sexual activity. There are over 100 particular strains of HPV and they affect both men and women. Many people contract HPV at some stage in their lives. In the majority of cases an infection is symptomless and self healing. Because of this, many people who are infected never know of their infection. Unfortunately, even though they display no symptoms, those infected can nonetheless still pass the virus on to their sexual partner(s).
HPV is also sometimes known as the “genital warts virus” as this in one of the conditions that it can cause. But although this condition is certainly undesirable, certain strains of HPV can cause conditions and illnesses of far greater consequence in women, such as changes in the cervix that could evolve into cervical cancer, and changes in the tissues of the vagina, that could evolve into vaginal cancer.
What does the Cervarix vaccine offer protection against?
There are more than 100 different strains of HPV, but it is strains 16 and 18 that can result in 70% of cancers of the cervix. These are two of the strains that the Cervarix vaccine targets. In addition the vaccine has also been reported to give a degree of protection against HPV strains 31, 33 and 45; strains which have also been associated with being responsible for cervical cancer.
The testing of the Cervarix vaccine
The Cervarix vaccine has undergone two phase-3 trials. One was in respect of women under the age of 26; the other for women over 26. All-in-all the tests were carried out on more than 18,000 women worldwide. The first study was called “PATRICIA”, an abbreviation which stands for “Papilloma Trial to Prevent Cervical Cancer in Young Women.”
The second study was designed to target preventing an HPV infection.
After a successful conclusion, Cervarix was licensed here in the UK in 2007 for the prevention of pre-cancerous changes to the cervix, in females aged between 10 and 25 years-of-age.
Because Cervarix is still a relatively new vaccine, it is not currently known how long it is effective for. Trials completed to date indicate that the vaccine is effective in females aged between 15 to 25 years-of-age for a period of between 4 to 6-years from when it is initially administered. Trials into the vaccine’s longer term protective abilities are still being carried out.
How is the Cervarix vaccine administered?
The Cervarix vaccine is administered by injection into the upper arm muscle. When given to young girls between the ages of 9 to 14, a course consists of two injections given 6 months apart. For young women over the age of 15, a full course consists of 3 doses in total. Doses 1 and 2 are administered 1 month apart, and the 3rd dose 5 months later.
There is a small amount of flexibility in the time scale for administering a full course of Cervarix, the details of which you can discuss with one of our clinicians here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
Because of its relative newness, it is not recommended that the Cervarix vaccine should be administered to pregnant women. This is a precautionary measure which will be reviewed once ongoing trials have been completed.
Get your Cervarix vaccination from Broadgate Clinic London Wall
If you live and/or work in the city of London, you can use the private walk-in services of Broadgate Clinic London Wall to be vaccinated with the Cervarix vaccine. With our walk-in, no prior appointment necessary service, you can time your visit to best tie in with your busy schedule.