A school near Manchester has banned pupils from receiving the new cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix on its premises, pointing out possible side effects of the jab and questioning its efficacy.

Governors at St Monica’s High School in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, have written to the parents of its 1,200 pupils, according to the BBC, to say they believe the school is “not the right place” to administer the injections of the jab, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline. The firm won the contract to run the human papillomavirus immunisation programme in the UKin June, ahead of Merck & Co’s rival vaccine Gardasil.

St Monica’s is a Roman Catholic school but the governors have pointed out that their objections are not based on any fears that the vaccine could encourage promiscuity. The letter simply points out that a number of students who took part in a pilot study subsequently suffered nausea, joint pain, headaches and high fevers and the governors say that “we do not believe that school is the right place for the three injections to be administered”.

A spokesman for the Bishop of Salford told the BBC that “the diocese and Catholic schools board do not have a moral objection, but it is up to individual schools to decide whether to allow the vaccinations to be carried out in school.”

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Schools Secretary Ed Balls said that Cervarix would help hundreds of children across the UK, noting that “the vast majority of schools will be delivering these vaccinations and they will be doing so to save lives”. He added that “schools should be at the centre of their community and I don't think schools walking away from their responsibility for children's health is the way to go."