Catholic parents weigh in on HPV vaccine for Calgary students

A series of meetings between parents and the Calgary Catholic School Board is underway as the board reconsiders distributing the HPV vaccine to female students.
Calgary Catholic School District is reconsidering whether to administer the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. (Harry Cabluc/Associated Press file photo)

Parents of children in the Calgary Catholic School District are getting a chance to have their say on whether their daughters should receive the HPV vaccine at school.

The vaccine prevents HPV, a sexually-transmitted virus that can cause cancer.

The Catholic board had originally decided against vaccinating female students, but earlier this year the board voted to open the issue for discussion with parents through a series of meetings.

Kathy Savoia, who has two daughters, attended a meeting for parents at Bishop Carroll High School on Tuesday night.

"As a physician on a daily basis I'm dealing with women who've had HPV infection. I've had women die of cervical cancer in my practice. It's ridiculous to me that we have this vaccine that's proven to help and we're not employing it across the board in all girls," said Savoia.

In the past, the board said the vaccine would compromise its stance on chastity.

"I don't think the fact that they're getting a shot promotes promiscuity,"said parent Kathleen Everest.

The Catholic board has been widely criticized by health care officials for refusing to provide the vaccine.