Students at Catholic schools offered Gardasil vaccine

Students at Catholic schools across New Zealand are being offered protection from a cancer-causing sexually transmitted infection, says Kevin Shore from the Catholic Education Office.

Clarifying a report on 1News, Shore told CathNews that Catholic schools are not part of the 44 Christian religious-affiliated schools that are denying access to the Gardasil vaccine.

The vaccine offers protection against the human papillomavirus which can result in cancer-causing sexually transmitted infections.

“The Catholic Church does not accept there is a direct moral link between being vaccinated and any attitude towards sexual promiscuity,” Shore said.

He explained Catholic schools, through their human development programme, continue to walk alongside and support parents as young people develop and continue to promote a Catholic and Christian vision of sexual intimacy.

“The Church’s position is very much the same as a parent’s where we guide our children, set value systems and expected behaviour but love and support them despite the decisions they might make,” he said.

He observed that while from a physical and mental health perspective casual intimate relationships can be very damaging for young people, abstinence seems to be at odds with the modern world.

“The terrible consequences of STIs require every person to be protected as much as possible.”

Shore commented that some data suggests up to 80 percent of women are exposed to this virus at some point.

“No person deserves to face such dire consequences as a result of a decision, whether deliberate or not, that may lead them to catch an STI and subsequently something more serious,” said Shore.

1News reported last week that in 2021, 44 schools did not take part in the nation-wide free in-school immunisation programme for years seven and eight.

The News organisation reported that most of the 44 schools had a Christian religious affiliation.

“It is important to give it to young people aged around 11, 12, 13 because it is most effective in this age group,” says Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre, Dr Nikki Turner.

“[It] is heartbreaking that we will see people who turn up in later years with cervical cancer who did not know it was preventable,” she says.


  • Supplied: Catholic Education Office
  • 1News
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