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I missed the HPV vaccine at school but so glad I've had it now

Fatima Faysal is delighted to have finally had the HPV vaccine after missing out while at school.

The HPV vaccine is now routinely given to all boys and girls at secondary school, severely reducing the risk of getting the various cancers associated with HPV.

However, when Fatima was in Year 8 her small independent school had not enrolled on the HPV vaccine programme. While later cohorts at the school where able to get the vaccine, Fatima missed out.

The 24-year-old was prepared to get the vaccine privately, before researching it a bit more and discovering that it is available for free with the NHS for everyone until their 25th birthday.

She said: “I have always been aware of the importance of receiving the vaccine and had been planning to for years but there had always been distractions along the way which meant that I kept delaying making an appointment.

“I finally got around to it around last summer and called my GP practice to make an appointment. During my initial call to schedule an appointment, the GP receptionist spent the time understanding my circumstances and my need to receive the vaccine later than usual.”

Fatima experienced some initial resistance from the GP practice but was able to explain the reasons why she was entitled to the vaccine.

She added: “There was quite a lot of back and forth, which I was not expecting and was slightly surprised by particularly as there seemed to be the suggestion that the jab was something which I perhaps might not require. However, thanks to the research that I had done previously, I was able to clearly explain why and how I was eligible for the jab.”

For anyone like Fatima, in the 15-24 age bracket, who has missed the HPV vaccine in school, a three dose schedule is recommended, with the second dose given one month later and the third given 4-6 months later.

After receiving all three of her doses Fatima is delighted that she now has the added protection.

She said: “It is a weight off my mind especially in the light of recent reports on the efficacy of the jab in preventing cervical cancer and I feel relieved that it something I have been able to tick off my list.”