Grade 6 student Nelson Roy thought it just wasn’t right that girls in his Vancouver school were getting the HPV vaccine for free, and the boys were not. So he and his twin brother Elliot did just what you’d expect rambunctious, rabble-rousing modern boys to do: they lodged a human rights complaint.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been associated with a number of cancers, but the vaccination program was originally focused on preventing just one of those – cervical cancer – which is why the vaccine was offered only to girls. But because other cancers, including ones men can get too, are also linked to HPV, six other provinces (including Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba) are already making the vaccine available to both girls and boys for free.
According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, a third of girls across the province aren’t choosing to be vaccinated. Should our girls, and now our boys, be among them? What should we as parents do?
HPV is a sexual transmitted disease, so a Christian couple that lives a faithful monogamous life is in no danger of getting HPV. When we consider that all vaccines come with some sort of risk (though that is normally outweighed by the benefit) what we have here is a situation in which faithful Christian who get the vaccine are needlessly being exposed to a risk, and getting no benefit. This is not a vaccine we need.
Now as parents we might wonder, What if my boy or girl ends up marrying someone who hasn’t been sexually pure? Then they would be at risk, so shouldn’t we get the vaccine?”
If someone marries after living a sexually sinful life they may have already contracted HPV, and then it could make sense for their spouse to get the HPV vaccine. But if they face that situation, our son or daughter can then, as an adult, make the decision to take the vaccine – it has been proven effective up until age 26 (and may be effective beyond that, but studies haven’t yet been done). So there is no still no need to get it as a child.
As parents we might also wonder, “What if my boy or girl ends up being sexually impure? Shouldn’t we vaccinate them to protect them, just in case?”
None of us are perfect parents, and we don’t have perfect children, so yes, our children may sin sexually. That said, should we be readying our children for sin? In Romans 13:14 Paul says,
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
It doesn’t seem as if we’re supposed to prepare our children so that they can enjoy sin with fewer repercussions.
No doubt our doctors are going to continue to promote the HPV vaccine for our girls, and now encourage it for our boys too. But this is one vaccine we don’t need.