All S1 school pupils in Orkney can now get vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) which can cause cancer.
The HPV vaccine has been offered to S1 girls in Scotland since 2008. From academic year 2019/20, the HPV vaccine will be routinely offered to S1 boys as well. Evidence is clear that the HPV vaccine is safe, helps protect boys and girls from HPV-related cancers and save lives.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:
“I am proud that Scotland will now offer the HPV vaccination to boys in S1.
“Evidence has shown that high uptake of the HPV vaccine among girls has reduced levels of cancer-causing HPV in young women in Scotland by 90%.
“Extending the vaccination to S1 boys will help to further reduce diagnoses of HPV related cancers and save lives in years to come.
“I would encourage all those who are eligible to take up the offer of vaccination.”
HPV is a common sexually transmitted virus which can be caught through any kind of sexual contact with another person who already has it. Around four in five people in Scotland likely to catch HPV before they are 25.
People often have the virus without knowing it as there are usually no symptoms and can unknowingly pass HPV on to others. Most people who have HPV clear the virus from their body, but others may develop a range of cancers in later life. These include head and neck cancers (which are most common in men), anogenital cancers, genital warts, and cervical cancer.
Dr Kirsty Roy, Strategic Lead of Vaccine Preventable Diseases and STIs at Health Protection Scotland said:
“Vaccinating your son or daughter against HPV in S1 at school offers the best possible defence against a number of cancers.
“I urge all parents and carers of S1 pupils in Orkney to sign and return the HPV consent form, which you will receive from your child’s school along with a letter and information leaflet. It is important not to delay vaccination, as the vaccine may be less effective as adolescents get older.
“The HPV vaccination provides safe, effective and long lasting protection, and it’s important both boys and girls get the vaccine. There’s no room for complacency – if the spread of HPV can be reduced even further, everyone’s risk of HPV-related cancers in later life will fall.”
For more information about HPV and the HPV vaccine visit: