During the new school term, which starts this week, girls will be vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV) with Gardasil rather than Cervarix, used previously.
Cervarix protects against two strains of HPV, while Gardasil is said to offer protection from four, as well as protecting against genital warts.
The HPV vaccine, which is given in three doses, will continue to be offered to girls in their second year of secondary school, when they are about 13-years-old.
Gardasil offers protection against the two strains of HPV that cause more than 70% of cases of cervical cancers in the UK, and a further two strains that cause about 90% of genital warts cases.
It will now be used across the UK following a procurement exercise by the Department of Health on behalf of the four UK Health Departments.
The vaccine does not protect against other types of cervical cancer, so regular screening is still important. HPV is said to be very common and is caught through sexual contact with someone who already has it.
The virus does not cause cervical cancer or warts in every woman who contracts it.
Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “This vaccination programme, launched in 2008, is the very first to protect against a type of cancer and plays a critical part in helping to protect thousands of Scottish women from a disease that can attack them in the prime of their lives.
“The HPV vaccination programme was established first and foremost to protect against cervical cancer, however, the fact that the new vaccine also provides protection against genital warts is an added benefit.
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