By Sarah McGinnis,
October 22, 2010
The Calgary Catholic School District won’t reconsider banning vaccinations against cervical cancer despite new figures showing a fraction of girls in the separate system are receiving the inoculation.
Only one in five girls attending Catholic or independent schools in the city are accessing the vaccine against the human papilloma virus, according to Alberta Health Services.
That compares to 70 per cent of girls in grades 5 and 9 who received the series of three injections offered through a provincewide HPV vaccine program at public schools in 2009-10.
In 2008, the Calgary Catholic district chose not to offer the vaccine in its schools over concerns it would promote premarital sex.
“When the decision was originally made, Bishop (Fred) Henry indicated he would not support the Gardasil vaccine being offered in Catholic schools. Obviously, we look to the bishop for moral and spiritual guidance,” said Catholic district spokeswoman Janet Corsten.
“At that time, the decision was made to ensure parents would receive information so they could make an informed decision on whether or not to access the vaccine, which they’re still able to do at no cost.”
Calgary Catholic families who want to vaccinate their daughters can do so by appointment at community health centres.
A Leger Marketing survey released Thursday ahead of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week indicated 70 per cent of women aged 18 to 25 have not received the vaccination because they do not know enough about it.