f Humanisticus: Christian Schools Deny Students Life-Saving Vaccine

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Christian Schools Deny Students Life-Saving Vaccine

Christian schools in England have denied their female pupils a vaccine which prevents a form of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills about 1000 women yearly in the UK and one of the causes is the HPV virus which accounts for 70% of cervical cancer cases. It also causes 80% of anal cancers, 60% of vaginal cancers, and 40% of vulvar cancers. The disease is mainly spread through sexual intercourse but can be spread through other means. The vaccine is offered to girls aged 12-13 to protect them from the virus and lower the risk of contracting cervical cancer. However, some Christian schools have not allowed their pupils to be vaccinated based on religious grounds. They state that 'pupils follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practice sex outside marriage'. Not too sure where to begin here, either the delusion that all their students won't have sex before marriage, the fact that they could be virgins at marriage but still contract the disease later in life or the fact that it is not their choice whether or not a student gets vaccine for cancer! I think the last point is most sickening; to withhold a vaccine for cancer from a student because they think that they will only be infected with virus by going against their ethos. If they want to teach their Christian ethos, fine, but they cannot deny students certain forms of healthcare because their ethos might be violated.

In trying to find a motivator for these schools denying the free vaccinations I have struggled to find a reasonable one. There are only two reasons why they would do so.

1. They actually do believe it isn't necessary because they honestly believe that their students won't have premarital sex. If so, this shows these schools are not in touch with reality and are ignoring a plethora of studies which show teenagers in the UK are quite sexually active and that the majority have premarital sex, even those in Christian communities. This also ignores the fact that they can still catch the HPV virus even though they do not engage in premarital sex or have multiple partners.

2. They feel that by allowing the vaccinations they are A) endorsing promiscuity or B) are afraid their students will become promiscuous after been inoculated as they feel medically safe to do so. I think this might be the case. The schools believe only by being sexually promiscuous can woman contract the HPV virus so by allowing a vaccine to prevent HPV then they are allowing promiscuity. This is silly, the vaccinations no more endorse promiscuity and premarital sex than the flu jab endorses walking around at night naked with a wet towel around your head. It just means that if you chose to do so, which people are free to do, then they can do so more safely. 

Now admittedly trying to guess the motives of the schools is just that, guess work. Due to the lack of information these schools are providing, it is impossible to ascertain exactly why the schools have refused their students the vaccinations. What is clear, however, is that the refusals are most definitely religiously motivated and as always, the religious have put themselves and their religion before the welfare of children. Maybe, just maybe, they will get it right at some stage in the future and put their fellow human beings before their beliefs. I am not holding my breath......

Source: Guardian

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  1. This argument against HPV vaccination makes me so angry. My mother died 3 years ago from cervical cancer. She was Christian and only had one sexual partner in her life. Even if these girls do remain with one partner only, can they trust their other half to do the same.. The idea that these girls don't need the vaccine or it will make them promiscuous is stupid and reckless with their lives. Karen

    1. Agreed. It is quite clear that they don't care about the welfare of their students. Even though it is still wholly possible to contract HPV even if they follow the Christian ethos. They are still unwilling to allow vaccinations as it just might appear they are breaking this ethos. It is pure self-serving with no care or morality shown.

  2. Just like to point that it's not the catholic schools.

  3. This is sad. There are studies already that shows how there is a significant drop of HPV infections by half among teen girls, so taking the vaccinations matters a lot. The vaccine that created this impact, Gardasil, requires a recipient to receive three shots. What's sad about this is only half of the teen girls in the US received at least a dose of it, and only a third among these teens get the complete three shots.

    I personally don't know how to react to this one because obviously, even if we can't ascertain their reasons as to why they don't provide vaccinations for the students, the religious concerns of Christianity surfaces on the issue. I myself am a Christian, but since I value my body because God lent it to me, I should be aware of what things to do in taking care of it.