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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 16:06 UK
Row over school's cervical jab ban

Catherine Burns
Newsbeat health reporter

This term Year 8 girls across the country have started getting injections to protect them against HPV - a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. One school is refusing to let pupils have it done there. Governor's at St Monica's High in Prestwich in Manchester have said it should be up to parents. Newsbeat went to find out how they feel.

HPV vaccination
The vaccinations protect against some forms of human papilloma virus

The decision not to let girls have the jabs has caused quite a reaction.

Paula, who has a 13 year-old girl, is concerned about the decision to ban the injection.

She thinks it's no worse than having a flu jab, but could be vital.

She said: "I think it's silly because it's a life-saving jab and I think everyone should have it. They need to be protected against diseases that might cause them early deaths."

St Monica's is the first school in the country to say they won't be giving the injections to pupils.

The vaccinations protect against some forms of HPV.

It's one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, but often doesn't cause any problems.
"I don't agree with the injections. Partly because of the side effects

There are more than a hundred different types of it, but two of them can lead to cervical cancer which kills 3,000 women in the UK every year.

The idea is to inject girls before they start having sex.

Knock-on effect

Monsignor John Allen, one of the Governors at the school, spoke out against the jabs last year.

He said parents must consider the knock-on effect of encouraging sexual promiscuity.

But now he says that had nothing to do with the Governor's decision.

He told Newsbeat that because the decision is about health, it should be up to the parents.

The school has sent a letter to parents explaining this.

It has also said that some girls who had the injections at a local clinic last year were ill with headaches, dizziness and nausea.

Maria also has a daughter, but unlike Paula, she's happy with the decision.
Human papillomavirus cells

She said: "I don't agree with the injections. Partly because of the side effects.

"I just don't see why I should put my daughter through all that. I don't think there's enough of this cervical cancer to put her through this."

Her daughter is 12 year-old Christina who said they have not been told much about it.

I don't know if I should or shouldn't have it or not. I don't know," she added.

"The headmaster said in assembly that the reason he's not doing it at school is you might see your best friends having it, and it might put pressure on you to have it."

Totally irresponsible

Local health bosses say this decision is "disappointing" and that the school isn't "justified" in doing this.

They think if girls don't get the jabs at school, they're less likely to bother going to their doctor.

But most think the school has got it wrong.

One mother said: "The school is being totally irresponsible."

Hollie, a student nurse from Sheffield, added: "It completely astounds me to think parents think that little of their daughters to stop them having a jab that could save their lives."

But Jen from Inverness believes "it should be a personal choice" and "it's not up to the school".

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