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Controversial Vaccine Raises Fury of the Church

The controversial vaccine, Gardasil, against cervical cancer could be given to schoolgirls from the age of nine to protect them against the cervical cancer causing virus,// HPV, according to yesterday’s report.

However Scots church leaders have condemned the move saying that the vaccine is giving the "green light" to under-age sex. It is because of such concerns that other countries; most notably the US has resisted vaccinating young girls as yet.

Trials of Gardasil have been completed in Glasgow successfully and administration of the drug is planned across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization was presented with research that suggested that parents supported the introduction of the drug, Gardasil still needs the approval of the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive before vaccinations can be provided in schools. It is believed that pharmaceutical firms Merck and Co and Sanofi Pasteur have already met the executive with proposals for introduction of the drug.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: "Our concern would be that this vaccine is seen as giving the green light to promiscuity on the grounds that the vaccine protects young people from developing the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer."

However the rates of cervical cancer in some part of Scotland are almost a third higher than the national average thereby Scots politicians have supported the newly proposed vaccination scheme.

Roseanna Cunningham, SNP chairwoman of the Scottish Parliament's health committee, said: "Any form of vaccination that can prevent disease should be seriously considered. I don't believe there is a morality issue because it is an intervention against a deadly disease."

In addition an executive spokesman said, "We are aware of the vaccine and the clinical trials which have taken place. No decision has yet been made about its use i n Scotland."

So far trials of Gardisal on 300 women aged between 16 and 23 in Glasgow, and other countries has suggested that it is most effective when it is administered to young women before they become sexually active

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