|Church sets conditions for vaccine in schools – Feb 6|
The Archdiocese of Port of Spain has agreed to permit administration of the Gardasil vaccine in its schools, under specific conditions.
The Ministry of Health must provide full disclosure about the vaccine to enable parents to make an informed decision. Details must include the virus strains that are not covered by the vaccine, the period for which the vaccine is effective, contraindications, and the full range of possible side effects.
Further, a programme of systematic monitoring must be introduced to monitor students after they receive the vaccine.
The Church’s decision comes after a team led by Vicar General Msgr Robert Llanos, which included Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) Chairman Dr Roland Baptiste and CEO Sharon Mangroo, met with representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) at Archbishop’s House on February 1.
Dr Krishna Kumar Sundaraneedi, Medical Director, Health Programmes and Technical Support Services, led the Ministry’s team which included Dr Sherene Kalloo, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, and Dr Yitades Gebre of PAHO.
At the meeting, the Church again expressed concerns about the safety and efficacy of Gardasil and about certain aspects of the Ministry’s programme.
The concerns of the Archdiocese have arisen in light of multiple reports and information in the international media. The information includes:
Dr Sundaraneedi agreed to investigate particular reports identified by the Archdiocesan team and to work with his team to review the vaccine brochure for parents. Amendments should include inserting:
The Archdiocese shares the concern of the Ministry over the high incidence of cervical cancer in Trinidad and Tobago and supports the goal of reducing the incidence of this disease and preventing deaths that result from cervical cancer. It therefore encourages all students to take positive steps to avoid this disease. These include the following:
Parents are urged to learn the medical facts concerning this vaccine and to consider the spiritual, emotional, moral, and physical health of their daughters in making their decision about it.”