London, Oct 26 (ANI): Teenage girls in Britain are being bribed with high street shopping vouchers to receive a highly controversial vaccine.
A health trust is promising them 45 pounds in tokens for stores such as HMV, Argos and Debenhams if they agree to the cervical cancer jab, which protects against a sexually-transmitted virus that can cause tumours.
Opponents say the vaccine, dubbed the "promiscuity jab", encourages girls to have sex earlier than they would.
The shopping voucher scheme is being run by Birmingham East and North primary care trust, and costs around 22,500 pounds a year.
It offers "Love to Shop" vouchers to girls aged 16 to 18 which can be spent at high street stores. They receive a total of 45 pounds worth of vouchers for turning up for all three injections against the HPV virus.
The trust was advised by Mark Brighton, who used to work for Sainsbury's Nectar card but has now set up a company called Healthy Incentives.
"What Birmingham East and North had seen is that they'd get a number of people turning up for the first injection but then they wouldn't see the whole course through," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"So we thought - is there a way we can offer incentives for each of those three injections, so that we can encourage a better attendance rate and therefore a better vaccination rate?
"They are offered a decent lump - a nice little 20 pounds to come along to the first session, 5 pounds for the second session and another 20 pounds for the final, third, injection," he stated.
A spokesman for the trust said 500 teenage girls had been offered the vouchers, and the effectiveness of the scheme was being monitored. (ANI)