Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 26 January 2023.

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The First Minister:

We already have a women’s health plan that addresses those and many other issues—in fact, I think that Scotland was the first part of the UK to have such a plan. Professor Glasier will now have the key task of driving it forward.

Those issues are really important, but I do not think that it is the case that the Scottish Government is not using all its levers. As I said earlier, Scotland has the highest uptake rates for the HPV vaccine across all the four UK nations. However, we have recognised that we need to do more and we are doing so through, for example, the introduction of the simplified one-dose schedule. We are seeing the benefits of that approach. Since the vaccination of girls started in 2008, the number of cases with pre-cancerous cells identified in that population at cervical screening has reduced by almost 90 per cent in comparison with rates in women who were not vaccinated. We will continue to take those important steps to improve the health of girls and women in that respect and indeed in all others.