By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario, December 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (H-SCDSB) has voted against including a pamphlet produced by Alliance for Life which warns of the dangers of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, known as Gardasil, in an information packet to be sent to parents. See an on line version of the pamphlet at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008_docs/HPV_vaccine.pdf.
As reported previously by LifeSiteNews, the Catholic school board in Sault Ste. Marie has confused parents by first refusing to administer the controversial vaccine at its schools on moral grounds, saying that sexually transmitted diseases are best prevented by abstinence, and then later reversing that decision. (See: Ontario School Board Flip Flops on HPV Vaccine Decision: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08112008.html)
At Wednesday’s board meeting, Director of Education John Stadnyk recommended parents receive a letter from himself, another letter from the Ontario Council of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) regarding the moral issues surrounding the vaccine, and an information package from Algoma Public Health, but not the warning pamphlet produced by Alliance for Life. (Link to the OCCB letter: http://www.alcdsb.on.ca/Bishopsletter07.pdf)
The Bishops’ letter warns that the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted disease and that premarital sexual activity, “carries with it profound risks to a young person’s spiritual, emotional, moral, and physical health.” The bishops also warn that “there is no consensus” that the vaccine is “the most prudent strategy in terms of allocating health care resources to address the goal of preventing deaths resulting from cervical cancer.” It warns that “more research is necessary.”
However, the bishops’ letter offers no specifics on the potentially negative health effects of Gardasil, an information void that Alliance for Life had hoped to fill with its pamphlet.
"The long-term effects of the vaccine on young girls are completely unknown," the pamphlet advises.
The vaccine has been linked to 21 deaths of young women, hundreds of hospitalizations and thousands of adverse reaction reports, according to Judicial Watch, a non-profit interest group which has monitored the vaccine’s use.
The Sault Star reports that Trustee and Vice-Chair Regis O’Connor, who supports distributing the pamphlet, said the board shouldn’t be afraid to disseminate information to inform parents, and is concerned about the bias, in favor of the vaccine, of information being provided by Algoma Public Health.
"What do you expect Algoma Public Health to say? That’s like asking Dracula if he’s in favour of looking after the blood bank," said O’Connor.
In answer to the Director of Education’s remark that the board would be "challenged to verify" the materials contained in the pamphlet, trustee Grace Tridico said the pamphlet was both "very professional" and backed up its statements with cross-references to a number of reputable sources.
"They have no hidden agenda. They just want to make sure that info goes to the public," said Tridico. "They know there is information that hasn’t gone out to the parents. It includes information that every parent needs to make an informed decision."
Vice-Chair O’Connor added that if the board had a problem with the Alliance for Life pamphlet, they could get the same information from other sources and distribute it to parents.
"No one has seen the other side of this case," O’Connor said. "We are an educational institution and if we are afraid to disseminate both sides of this to parents, we are remiss. It’s a balance situation."
Trustee Kathleen Rosilius, who has resolutely opposed the vaccine, asked Director of Education Stadnyk if he had spoken with the bishop about the pamphlet.
"In fact I did talk with Bishop Plouffe on the matter," said Stadnyk. "He had no strong position on the Alliance for Life pamphlet. But he thought it would be confusing to parents, especially after the board changed its position on the issue, because he thought the pamphlet tended to be biased against the vaccine."
Trustees Rosilius, Tridico, and O’Connor voted for the motion to include the warning pamphlet. Trustees Lindsay Liske, John Caputo and Sandra Turco voted against. Trustees Gerald Beerkens and Conrad Bobiwash were absent.
Trustee and Chairman Marchy Bruni broke the tie by voting against the motion.
Talking Points on Gardasil:
1) It is not cheap and there are known and unknown side-effects.
2) There have been no long term (10 yrs plus) studies on Gardasil’s safety when used in humans. We do not know the long term ramifications on these girl’s reproductive systems.
3) There are more than 90 strains of HPV - Gardasil only protects against 4 - other HPV viruses can cause cancer.
4) HPV can take up to 20 years to cause cancer. The effectiveness of Gardasil is questionably 5 years. How many booster shots will be required?
5) We do not have an epidemic of cervical cancer, the majority of women who develop it are in their late forties.
6) Cervical cancer is not a public health crisis, it is already preventable through pap smears.
7) An HPV infection will clear up in the overwhelming majority of women. Only a few get an infection that stays - only few of these will develop precancerous lesions and only a few of these will develop cancer.
8) The test carried out in young girls by Merck only looked at the immune response not whether it would prevent cervical cancer.
9) Gardasil provides less than 70% protection from all the HPV strains known to cause cancer. Your daughter will not need this vaccine if she does not smoke, is not sexual active, or if she is - gets an annual pap smear, has no family history of reproductive cancer or DES use, and has a healthy diet.
To contact the Trustees of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board with your opinion and concern:
90 Ontario Avenue,
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6B 6G7
Chairman: Marchy Bruni
To contact Bishop Plouffe with your opinion and concern:
Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie
Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe
30 Ste-Anne Road
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3C 5E1
Read previous LSN coverage:
Ontario Catholic School Board Rejects HPV Vaccine on School Premises http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/oct/07101806.html
To see many previous, factual LifeSiteNews reports on the HPV vaccine enter "HPV vaccine" and/ or "gardasil" in the LifeSiteNews search.