A bishop in B.C. is making headlines after he sent home a letter to parents of grade 6 and 9 girls promoting abstinence as the only truly healthy choice versus getting an HPV vaccination.
Bishop Stephen Jensen, who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese for Prince George in 2013, states in the letter that he doesn’t believe HPV vaccinations are wrong, but that he feels parents have the right to refuse it for their child. HPV vaccinations are available as part of school-based immunizations in the province.
“You need to carefully discern the merits of having your child vaccinated or not,” reads Jensen’s letter.
“While the vaccination program is not inherently wrong, parents need to make an informed decision and communicate it in a way that can serve to strengthen their child in the virtue of chastity and reinforce her appreciation of abstinence as the only truly healthy choice.”
According to Immunize BC, there are three different immunizations for HPV available in Canada, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends two of them: Gardasil and Cervarix.
The immunizations recently became available for free to boys aged 9 to 26, but Jensen seemed to focus on girls in his letter.
HPV vaccines can prevent 70 per cent of cervical cancers, 80 per cent of anal cancers and cancers of the mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva, according to Immunize BC.