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Monday 24th October 2016

STD vaccines for teens?

20th March 2007

Experts are debating whether to vaccinate teenagers against hepatitis, chicken pox and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).


Teenagers are currently offered a booster to the diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) jab they received as children but experts feel adolescents could benefit from a raft of other jabs. The government is currently deciding whether to immunise teenage girls against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Other immunisation programmes for young people to be considered in the future include a vaccine against Hepatitis B and chicken pox, a booster against whooping cough and a jab designed to protect against meningococcal disease. Scientists are also working on a vaccination to protect against genital herpes.

Professor Adam Finn from the University of Bristol said there were many jabs which could benefit teens but that issues over consent and parental involvement needed to be ironed out before an immunisation programme could be planned. He explained, "To avoid the issue becoming a battle-ground, we urgently need to kick-start a national debate involving schools, public health experts, parents and, most importantly, involving teenagers themselves. For the next 10 years, while we will continue to think about how best to vaccinate babies, the real growth area will be vaccinating adolescents.?

Dr Loretta Brabin, a women's health specialist at the University of Manchester, said parents would have to come to terms with the fact that their teenage children would have a say over whether or not they had a jab. Earlier research from Scotland suggests that parents do not mind their children being offered a vaccine against STDs if they are given adequate information.

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