It is in the name of protection girls from the age of 12 up are being offered a vaccine for the HPV strains 16 and 18 which have been directly linked to 70% of cervical cancers. It is also in the name of protection that 24 schools, (most of which were religious) in 83 of England's 152 Primary Care Trust areas that took part in a Freedom of Information request are opting out of the HPV vaccination programme. Out of these only 15 PCTs informed GPs they were opting out and 5 did not provide information of how to obtain the vaccine they were refusing to provide.
These PCTs reasoned they were not offering the vaccine because it was: “not in keeping with the school ethos”. Another reason given was that “the school does not want parents/students to feel pressured by peers or the school setting.” OK they aren't the greatest of reasons but it so far no insistence such a jab would lead to 12 year olds seeking the pleasures of the flesh from the year 7s. Nor, it seems did any of the schools imply that they were protecting their students from any of the alleged HPC vaccine linked complications.
The only response that seems peculiar is “pupils follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practise sex outside marriage” presumably after delivering this quote in person the headteacher of the school left on their pony and trap, back through the worm hole from whence they came because I am not convinced of any Christian group within the UK that marries only within their community.
Whether or not you agree with these schools is not the point. These PCTs will probably also not have free condoms available in their matron's office. It's quite possible the sex education they provide is missing that rather vital contraceptives module (my Catholic school chose not to teach us about contraceptives and I will probably never know if the notorious condom/banana class was real or not) and sex before marriage is frowned upon. However sex education, free condoms and, uh, sex before marriage is available to a resourceful teen.
Which brings me to the main point, the actual alarming thing this GP Magazine FOI questionnaire. It's not the fact they are denying girls access to a vaccine that will sharply reduce any risk of cervical cancer but that 9 of these PCTs aren't TELLING anybody. Aren't making information about HPV or the vaccine available, aren't informing GPs of their decision. It is this that borders on the criminal.
The Royal College of General Practitioners' Dr George Kassianos commented: “No matter which system you examine, here in the UK or abroad, there will be parents or individuals who will refuse vaccination. It is hard to understand how immunisation against cancer can be rejected but that is out is is...”
And this is true, but the key word from Dr Kassianos is “refuse”. We need to ensure everybody, girls and boys are given the option to refuse. Because they sure as HPV shot have the option to be promiscuous.