A vaccine against cervical cancer which could save the lives of thousands of women in Greece was made available at pharmacies around the country yesterday. The vaccine, administered intravenously, works against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes changes in cells that lead to cancer. Doctors said yesterday that up to half of Greek women aged 22-32 can expect to have an HPV infection at some point. This does not mean that the women will necessarily have cervical cancer, which kills some 274,000 women worldwide every year. Scientific breakthroughs in the 1990s mean that cervical cancer could be about to become the first common form of cancer that can be avoided through a simple vaccine. The disease is the second-biggest cancer killer of young women after breast cancer across the world. The inoculation takes place in three stages with each dose costing around 185 euros, which will not be covered by social security funds in Greece. The jab can also be administered to girls and boys from the age of 9.