HPV vaccine, dental plan no go says Singh

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Peter Ta

Jonas Hrebeniuk

"IF I DIDN'T HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, I'D PUNCH YOUR LIGHTS OUT, YOU ANTI-DENTITE BASTARD." Dental student Peter Ta negotiates some molars and incisors on campus. Make sure you keep your flossing consistent. Sure, it's a pain in the ass, but no one wants algae growing on their chiclets.

Two possible additions to the undergraduate student health plan were declared financially unfeasible at last week’s council meeting.

David Singh, VP-finance for the University Students’ Council, said both the dental plan and the vaccine for the human papillomavirus would not go to referendum during the Feb.19-20 USC elections.

The HPV vaccine would likely have a huge financial burden, Singh explained. His advisors projected the cost, based on the student age demographic and current usage rates for other sex-related drugs, could add between $40 and $85 to the health plan, which currently costs $96 per student.

Courtney Ferguson, a fourth-year nursing student, was part of the group of students who suggested the HPV vaccine be included in the USC Health Plan as part of their political action project.

Once they educated people on the issue, Ferguson found there was a lot of student support.

Singh explained, however, the extra costs would not be worthwhile, since they would be completely unnecessary in four years when the population of women receiving the inoculation in Grade 8 will have arrived at the university.

Disappointed, Ferguson responded, “They didn’t even give it a chance at a referendum.”

However, Singh stood by his decision: “There are times when the board is there to work on behalf of all students in the best interest of students.”

The perennial issue of dental coverage was also a flop due to its high cost.

Although some schools, such as Fanshawe College, offer students a dental plan, Singh said that only proves their student councils are not educating students on the benefits of their student fees. The only way students would save money through dental coverage is if all students paid into it and only a few used it.

On the other hand, if everyone made use of the dental coverage, the cost would be no cheaper than normal.

“We’d just be the middle man for no reason,” Singh explained.

Jonathon Quijano, a fourth-year engineering student, thought the question should have gone to referendum.

“It’s a decision that affects all students.”

Myriem Boussaad, fourth-year social science student agreed, but reasoned, “In the end, the feasibility of the costs would win out.”

Singh offered some comfort by pointing out the health plan does cover accidental dental work for up to $10,000.

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