New letter sent to Catholic schools regarding HPV vaccine

By Britton Gray/CJME News Staff
October 6, 2017 - 3:20pm

Saskatchewan bishops have sent out a new letter regarding the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine after parents mistakenly received one that hadn’t been updated in about a decade.

On Sept. 25, a letter was sent out to Catholic school boards and parents of students in the Catholic school system that cautioned families about the moral implications of the vaccine.

It stated, “While the vaccine is said to prevent 70 per cent of the HPV infections that could lead to cervical cancer, it must not lead to a false sense of security which can contribute to risk behaviour.”

The bishops and school divisions have now apologized for the letter.

“It was adequate at the time and it was true at the time, but our knowledge of the HPV vaccine has increased and we have years of experience now reflecting on its impact both on health and behaviour,” said Brett Salkeld with the Archdiocese of Regina.

On Thursday, a new letter was issued with updated information about the vaccine.

The new letter indicated that it is up to the parents to make responsible decisions about their children “according to their own conscience,” while being informed by both “scientific findings and their faith.”

The letter also stated that the decisions are a matter of public health.

Salkeld said that the bishops talked with cancer researchers and healthcare professionals to ensure they were sending out updated and accurate information.

He said that the Archdiocese wants to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen because of the controversy behind the letter.

“All of us are going to have our radars up before these kinds of public communications go out again.”

He said that many of the people who wrote the original letter 10 years ago are no longer involved with the Archdiocese or the Catholic school board.

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