Controversy concerning both safety and efficacy surrounds the two FDA approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix). Even with this uncertainty some governments are still trying to make the vaccine mandatory.
We all remember from the early presidential campaign that in 2007 Texas Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order that required all sixth-grade girls in his state receive the HPV vaccine. The order included an opt-out for parents who didn’t want their daughters to be vaccinated, but the mandate was met with fierce opposition anyway and was overridden by the state legislature in 2008. Interestingly, in England, Christian schools are now coming under fire for opting their student body out of HPV vaccine.
Some schools in England opted out of the HPV vaccination programme because their pupils follow strict Christian principles and do not have sex outside marriage, which is said to be the first line of defense against the disease.
An investigation by GP magazine found 24 schools in 83 of England’s 152 primary care trust (PCT) areas were opting out of the vaccination programme, many of them on religious grounds. And they are coming under fire by the government officials and the medical community.
The reasons schools gave for not giving HPV vaccines included “not in keeping with the school ethos”, “pupils follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practise sex outside marriage” and “the school does not want parents/students to feel pressured by peers or the school setting”.
Dr Richard Vautrey, the deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s general practitioners committee, said: “It is a concern that so many areas are reporting that schools have refused to allow their children to receive HPV vaccine on the premises. “This is placing their children at risk in later life and should be challenged.”
But, are they completely wrong in their thinking? Based on information found at immunizationinfo.org, if they believe their students are going to abide by their rules, beliefs and morals, then they are on to something.
As the website states, “[t]otal sexual abstinence is logically the best protection against acquiring all sexually transmitted infections, including genital HPVs.”
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