February 14, 2010
Teenage girls are being rewarded with shopping vouchers for having the cervical cancer jab.
Girls aged 16 to 18 are being given £45 of vouchers if they complete an inoculation course against the HPV virus, the sexually transmitted infection that causes 70 per cent of cervical tumours.
A national campaign to vaccinate girls aged 12 to 18 has been criticised over fears it may encourage promiscuity and raise pregnancy rates, and uptake has been low among girls aged 16 to 18.
Now, the £22,500 pilot scheme gives young women Love2shop vouchers if they have three injections. No parental consent is needed.
Bosses at NHS Birmingham East and North, which is carrying out the pilot, said it has ‘real benefits for health’. The project could be rolled out across the country. But campaigners claim the scheme amounts to bribery.
Norman Wells, director of Family And Youth Concern, said the project was ‘a serious misuse of taxpayers’ money’.
One mother, who did not want to be named, said she was ‘appalled’ when her daughter, 17, was offered the ‘unethical’ vouchers.