Thursday, July 17, 2008

Response to the Movement to Make HPV Vaccine Mandatory

As the mother of two teen-aged daughters, I am appalled at the mere suggestion of a mandatory vaccine. This is too much, even for Canada, where our government is not averse to telling its' citizens what they should do. As a nurse, I am not at all opposed to vaccines. As an oncology nurse, I have seen cervical cancer and penile cancer, both caused by HPV, so I am not naive. My children have been vaccinated against all childhood communicable diseases. They have even been vaccinated against other things that can be acquired as a matter of course in social circles, such as Meningitis. But HPV doesn't just happen, you have to go out and get it. It is also easy to avoid. Some have said that parents refuse this for their children because they're afraid to talk to them about sex. I, personally, have spoken to my daughters, 15 and 17, about sex and about this vaccine. They have told me they don't want it. Cost is not an issue here in Canada, as the government is currently advertising and promoting this vaccine free of cost for a limited time. However, my Doctor told me they were thinking of making it mandatory. That made me very angry. They can't even compel parents to immunize their children against communicable diseases (you can enroll your children in school without vaccinations as long as you sign a paper saying you decline on religious or ethical grounds), which led to a severe outbreak of measles in a private school where most of the parents do not agree with immunizations. How then,could they think to compel parents to agree to give this vaccine to prevent something that is dependent on behaviour? My Doctor offered it, which I suppose she is entitled or required to do. I discussed it with my husband and daughters, and we refused it, which we are entitled to do. If our government EVER compelled parents to agree to give this vaccine to their children, it should be fought it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
(This was first published for

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