Cervical cancer could be eliminated within decades, scientists say, as a Lancet study shows the effectiveness of jabs for teenagers.
The research on 60 million people in wealthy countries, including the UK, shows a sharp reduction in levels of infections which can cause the disease, since vaccines were introduced.
All 12 and 13 year old girls have been offered the jabs at school, since 2008, with a catchup programme for older girls in the early years of the programme.
From September, it will be extended to boys.
The research, funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and led by Canadian researchers, examined progress in 14 countries, including the UK.
It found that in Britain, the jabs have led to an 86 per cent fall in cases of human papillomavirus (HPV) among vaccinated girls in the 15 to 19 age group.
The “herd immunity” which reduces the levels of virus in circulation, also means that infections have dropped by half among unvaccinated women of this age.
Substantial falls have also been seen in pre-cancerous lesions among women, and in genital warts among men and women in the generation which has been vaccinated, the study found.
Researcher Professor Marc Brisson of Laval University, Canada said: “Because of our finding, we believe the WHO call for action to eliminate cervical cancer may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage can be achieved.”