Paula Simons: Accidental HPV vaccination a betrayal of trust

Any parent might well be concerned if his or her child were vaccinated at school without parental consent. I’m about as pro-vaccination as it gets, but I would have been upset if someone had given my kid a shot without checking with me first. I might have been even angrier if it had happened by accident.

Now, imagine you’re John Tomkinson.

Tomkinson is a former chairman of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools, a division southwest of Edmonton. Back when he was a Catholic school trustee, he was opposed to allowing Alberta Health Services to administer Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, in his district’s schools.

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection linked to genital warts, cervical cancer and cancers of the throat and genitalia. Gardasil is a safe and effective way to combat those cancers. But Tomkinson believed administering the shot was contrary to Catholic values.

Nonetheless, the school board voted to allow AHS to administer Gardasil. But the district came up with a strong “hands-off” policy — one that Tomkinson helped write — which allowed AHS to use school district space to administer the vaccine, but only with the specific consent of individual parents.

St. Thomas Aquinas board chair John Tomkinson speaks to the media following a press conference where the Province announced a shift in diploma exam weighting, and new dual-credit partnerships, at McKay Avenue School, 10425 – 99 Ave., in Edmonton Alta., on Monday March 16, 2015. David Bloom/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

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John Tomkinson is a former chairman of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools.

But Monday, something went sideways.

Tomkinson’s son was accidentally given a dose of Gardasil at his school in Wetaskiwin — without the consent of his parents.

“We’re furious,” said Tomkinson. “My wife called me at work, in tears and angry. This can’t be undone.”

“Alberta Health Services called it ‘an unfortunate error.’ Well, I think an ‘unfortunate error’ is when one of my kids spills milk at the supper table.”

Tomkinson and his wife have had their kids immunized against the usual childhood diseases. But his personal concerns about Gardasil aren’t just religious. He doesn’t believe the vaccine has been administered long enough for there to be good data about its long-term health effects. Now, he’s outraged his child was immunized without his permission.


Source:: Edmonton Journal – Lifestyle


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