With the backing of its spiritual leader, Calgary’s Catholic school board is planning to consult with parents on offering a vaccination against human papilloma virus in its schools.
A study that examined "markers" of sexual activity found no difference in promiscuity between girls who had been vaccinated against HPV and girls who had not been vaccinated.
For four years, the Calgary Catholic School District has rejected a program to vaccinate female students in Grades 5 and 9 against the virus, which studies have shown is a leading cause of cervical cancer in women. The board of trustees has always taken direction on the matter from Bishop Fred Henry, who has long maintained vaccinating against the virus promotes promiscuity.
But trustee board chair Mary Martin said late Wednesday the bishop has signed off on the consultation. “The ground has shifted a little bit,” Martin said, referring to research on the virus and potential lifestyle impacts of the vaccine. “We have new information.” Martin added that she has little indication of which way the majority of parents will fall on what is a highly controversial topic in Catholic school circles.
A study released earlier this month by U.S. health-care provider Kaiser Permanente found no increase in pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases of requests for contraceptives among girls who have received the vaccination. Martin said a timeline for the consultation with parents has not been set. She added that Wednesday’s announcement had nothing to do with threats of legal action from pro-vaccine advocacy group HPV Calgary.
The group, made up mostly of concerned medical professionals and parents, recently issued a plea for funding to help jumpstart a legal challenge of the Catholic board’s stance on the HPV vaccine, potentially under the claim it violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In recent months, former Catholic board Supt. Bill Devers had even thrown his support behind the group.
Metro News Canada