Concern over cancer vaccine for schoolgirls

The Catholic Weekly Australia 1 Apr 2007
Advice from NSW Health now circulating in memo form in NSW secondary and central schools outlining a new vaccination program also foreshadows the possible removal of parent’s rights to agree to their children being vaccinated or not. The vaccine in the federally-funded Gardasil Human Papillomavirus (HPV) program acts against 70 per cent of HPV virus infections that are known to cause cervical cancer. It also acts against nine out of 10 cases of genital warts. The program is to begin this year.The director of the Sydney Archdiocesan Marriage and Family Office, Chris Meney, says the memo, from the NSW Education and Training department, specifies that “NSW Health & plan to introduce a change to the process for withdrawal of parental/legal guardian consent for both the NSW Adolescent-based Vaccination Program and the National HPV Vaccination program”. “This is of real concern,” he said. “I find it extraordinary that bureaucracies would be making decisions that are properly the domain of parents.”“The HPV program it seems is to be rolled out across NSW in particular haste. Why the haste? Girls in Year 10 are to be vaccinated this year. Next year girls as young as Year 7 will be. “Under natural and civil law, parents have the primary authority and responsibility to raise their children and this includes approving medical treatments for them, “ Mr Meney said. “HPV is primarily transferred through sexual contact. It is not a communicable disease like chicken pox or the mumps. HPV infection is a consequence of behaviour & even more reason for parental involvement.