HPV vaccination: A threat to the family

John B. Shea
Catholic Insight: September, 2007
© Copyright
Reproduced with Permission

In the fall of 2007, the Ontario government will offer 84,000 grade eight girls free vaccination with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Three other provinces — Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island — have also announced they want young girls vaccinated.

HPV is believed to cause most cases of cancer of the cervix of the uterus. Infection is caused by promiscuous sexual intercourse. Many people have applauded the four provincial Premiers. Recently, however, researchers at McGill University in Montreal have stated that there are many unanswered questions about this vaccination.

Question 1: Limited efficacy?

There are approximately 19 high-risk types of HPV that can cause cancer. Gardisil, the new vaccine, contains only two that cause cancer, type 16 and 18. A study done in 2006 on female university students show that only 14 of 78 infections with high-risk type HPV were due to type 16 and 18. The remaining 64 were due to other high-risk HPV types. It is not clear how long the vaccine will remain effective.

Question 2: Mixed message?

Some fear that vaccination of young girls for HPV will cause them to develop a false sense of invulnerability that may result in an increase in promiscuous sexual behaviour.

Question 3: Inadequate research?

Gardisil has been researched for only a short period of time and the research has included few girls in the 9-15 year age group, the target group for vaccination.

Question 4: Safety risk?

The vaccine's long-term risks are unknown and there is no clinical evidence that it will in fact reduce the incidence of cancer of the cervix. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that “the vaccine is reported to be of limited efficacy and safety.”

Question 5: Medical profession?

It is well known that smoking tobacco is the main cause of cancer of the lung. The medical profession, quite appropriately, vigorously warns everyone not to smoke tobacco.

It is also well known that the spread of infection by HPV and by the human immunosuppressive virus (HIV) is caused by promiscuous sexual intercourse. The medical profession in this latter case however has failed to promote chastity, which they quietly admit is the only sure way of not becoming infected. Instead, physicians champion the use of a condom, a practice that they know cannot guarantee complete protection from infection. This oxymoronic medical counsel has helped create the impression that smoking is totally politically incorrect and unacceptable, but that sexual promiscuity, even in adolescence, is somehow unavoidable, even normal!


Parents should carefully consider the risks and benefits of HPV vaccines before they agree to have their grade eight children vaccinated. A young girl who is vaccinated may interpret her parents' consent as a scandalous vote of non-confidence in her moral character. She may also interpret such consent, rightly or wrongly, as parental endorsement of promiscuous sex.