Canadian Catholic schools approve HPV vaccinations

The bishops are opposed, and the move has not been without controversy. From the Calgary Herald: 

Trustees with the city’s Catholic school board have overturned a four-year-old ban on offering the HPV vaccine in its schools, a move greeted by doctors and victims of the disease who have fought the prohibition.

The decision was made at a meeting Wednesday evening and passed with a unanimous vote, after a consultation with school councils found an overwhelming number in favour of the immunization being made available.

This comes after intense pressure from doctors and some parents to allow the vaccine for the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus in schools. One advocate and HPV sufferer wept as she spoke of her reaction…

…The HPV immunization ban in Calgary Catholic schools has been controversial. While public schools began making the Gladasil vaccine available in 2008, many Catholic jurisdictions balked, and Alberta Catholic bishops were not in favour of HPV immunization in schools.

Health advocates lobbied for changes, and on Wednesday trustees noted a large number of school councils agreed HPV vaccinations should be allowed.

“It’s important for them to be comfortable,” trustee Lois Burke-Gaffney said of parents. “I’m very satisfied with the work that was done.”…

…Trustees began to reconsider the vaccine question earlier this fall. Calgary Bishop Fred Henry endorsed a consultation with parents, however he maintained that he still believed the ban to be right.

The bishop has turned down interview requests. However, he did issue a statement last month that outlined his observations.

He said that in his view, vaccinating against HPV is not “an inherently evil action but rather a partial prophylaxis.” Youth, he said, should be taught Catholic morality and shouldn’t be sent mixed messages about sex outside of marriage.


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