London ranks last in England for HPV vaccine rates

While the British Department of Health's marketing campaign for school girls and their parents for human papillomavirus vaccination has seen its share of successes, London lags behind the rest of the country.

A recent report by the Healthcare Protection Agency found that the HPV vaccine uptake rate in year eight schoolgirls aged 12 to 13 in London is 76 percent. The rate is much lower than England's national average of 84 percent, Science 2.0 reports.

While many boroughs in London are achieving high uptake rates, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden, City and Hackney, Kingston and Barnet are 20 to 30 percent below the national average for all three doses of the HPV vaccine.

"With research showing that an 80 percent uptake of the HPV vaccine year-on-year could see a two-thirds reduction in cervical cancer incidence in women under 30 by 2025, it will make a real difference if girls continue to have all three doses of the vaccine," Robert Music, the director of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, a London-based charity, said, according to Science 2.0.

HPV can cause cervical cancer and some other conditions in both men and women. Cervical cancer kills more than 900 women annually in the United Kingdom.

"We would therefore like to encourage parents of both the girls who are eligible for the schools program to ensure their daughters get the vaccine to help protect themselves against cervical cancer, but also remind the parents of those who are no longer in year eight but aged 17 and below that they can still have the vaccine on the National Health Service for free," Music said, according to Science 2.0.

Vaccination campaign 123 Against HPV recently launched in London to improve low uptake rates. The campaign involves advertising to raise awareness amongst parents of girls eligible for the vaccine.