Women are being given the chance to protect themselves against cervical cancer thanks to a high street store.

Boots pharmacies are offering a vaccination service to women aged between 18 and 54 in 134 stores across England and Wales.

A series of three injections, costing a total of £405, will provide vaccination against the two forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which are responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases.

Women will be able to purchase the vaccination from stores in Bristol, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Taunton, Barnstaple and Salisbury.

The in-store service comes after an NHS vaccination programme for girls aged 12 to 18 was launched last September.

Boots pharmacist Sachin Patel said: "Both research and improved awareness has shown that increased education about the HPV is making young women reassess their risk of developing cervical cancer."

Jane Lyons, director of The Eve Appeal, which raises funds for research into gynaecological cancers, said: "In the long term this will help save women's lives and importantly, help raise awareness of cervical and other gynaecological cancers.

"The service also provides a great opportunity to further stress the importance of the cervical screening programme, which women, even if they have been vaccinated, must still attend."

Dr Anne Szarewski, clinical consultant at Cancer Research UK's centre for epidemiology is backing the programme and added that it's best to vaccinate young girls before they are sexually active. But she said older women could benefit from the jab as the body does not always build an immune response to HPV.

Dr Szarewski said women should, however, be aware that they cannot be certain how much benefit they will get from the vaccine and should continue to have smear tests.