Bulgarian general practitioners will be able to give girls of 12 years old vaccines against cervical cancer from October 1 2012, Health Minister Dessislava Atanassova said on September 25.
The vaccinations would be free-of-charge and while not compulsory, were recommended in healthy individuals, she said.
The National Health Insurance Fund next year would include provision for the vaccines, Atanassova said.
The Health Ministry was working with municipalities and schools to provide information on the vaccine and on the necessity for parental consent.
The idea is to vaccinate girls before they begin their sex lives. According to the Health Ministry, 12 is the age of maximum efficiency of immunisation against human papillomavirus.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women between 20 and 45 years in Bulgaria. Currently in Bulgaria immunisation is carried out three times, with pharmacies charging 150 leva (about 75 euro) a dose.
Bulgaria is the 22nd country to introduce this vaccination against cancer of the cervix.
State health inspector Dr Angel Kunchev said that the vaccination had no negative side-effects. There had been more than 80 million cases of doses being administered, a sufficiently large base to establish that there were no risks, he said.
The vaccination is said to be 96 per cent effective, with no need for a second vaccination.
After breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second-most-common form of cancer among Bulgarian women. Kunchev said that, statistically, in Europe a woman dies from cervical cancer every 18 minutes and in Bulgaria, every 24 hours.
(Photo: Antonio Jiménez Alonso/sxc.hu)
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