The routine vaccination of girls with the HPV vaccine in Scotland has led to a “dramatic” drop in cervical disease in later life, new research suggests.
Human papilomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection and some types are linked to cervical cancer.
Researchers said the vaccine has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women since an immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago.
They found the vaccine had led to a 90% cut in pre-cancerous cells.
And they said the effects of the programme had “exceeded expectations”.
Over the last decade, schoolgirls across the UK have routinely received the HPV vaccine when they are 12 or 13.
The uptake of the vaccine in Scotland is about 90%.
A team of academics – from Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow Caledonian universities – analysed vaccination and screening records for 140,000 women who went for their first cervical screen from 2008-2016.
Their study, published by the BMJ, concluded that Scotland’s HPV vaccination programme has led to “a dramatic reduction in preinvasive cervical disease”.
It adds that the vaccine is “highly effective” and should greatly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the future.