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HPV vaccination back in Catholic schools
In light of the Catholic Board of Education’s decision to allow the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil to be administered in its schools under specific conditions, the Health Ministry is set to resume its vaccination programme from Ash Wednesday. There will also be an aggressive public awareness campaign to inform the wider public of the vaccine and the possible side effects.
Health Minister Fuad Khan, in a brief telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, said he expects the vaccination programme to resume next week and continue from there. Khan said the vaccination was only suspended in Catholic schools to avoid further complications. He added an awareness programme was done at Newtown Girls’ RC, Maraval Rd, Port-of-Spain, last week and he expects it to continue now that the board has given its okay.
The ministry’s manager of the expanded programme on immunisation, Gwendolyn Snaggs, said all Form One students of public and private schools are expected to be vaccinated against the disease. Snaggs also said in a brief telephone interview that “an aggressive” awareness programme will be carried out. She said no specific school has been targeted to kick off the resumption of the vaccination programme.
She stressed the vaccine is optional and will only be administered with parental consent. The Catholic Board on Thursday issued a release saying it had agreed to have Gardasil administered in its schools under specific conditions, such as that the ministry must provide full disclosure about the vaccine to parents.
The Catholic Board of Education had previously objected to the vaccine being administered in its schools, which resulted in the ministry suspending the programme in schools and instead administering it through its health facilities with parental consent.
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