Church sets conditions for vaccine in schools – Feb 6

Fr Michel RIP
December 18, 2014
Fr. Gerard PANTIN, C.S.Sp – RIP
December 18, 2014

Church sets conditions for vaccine in schools – Feb 6

Church sets conditions for vaccine in schools – Feb 6 PDF Print E-mail

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:

  • Testing of the vaccine for USFDA approval was fast-tracked over a two-year rather than the normal ten-year period. The conditions for the USFDA’s accelerated approval process are alleged to have not been fully observed;
  • Numerous reports of negative side effects of varying degrees of intensity but including death.

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 name of the vaccine (Gardasil is not named in the brochure currently);
  • the HPV strains that the vaccine provides protection for, that is, Types 16, 18, 6 and 11;
  • the period for which the vaccine is effective (The brochure currently states: “The vaccine has long lasting protection.” Other literature says protection lasts about 5 years);
  • the full range of possible side effects;
  • the contraindications, that is, specific situations in which Gardasil should NOT be used because it may be harmful to the patient/student;
  • the list provided on the Gardasil website of problems that recipients of the vaccine could experience and which may be signs of an allergic reaction;
  • information that will encourage cancer screening/pap smears in later life and locations where this can be obtained.

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:

  • Since HPV is sexually transmitted, reserve sexual activity to within marriage as the best protection against risk of the disease.
  • Young women should access recommended medical treatments that include, where appropriate, regular pap smears.

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.”