The Calgary Catholic School Board has done an about-face on the issue of the HPV vaccine for students following a vote on Wednesday night.

After years of debate and controversy, the school board reversed its decision on the free vaccine that protects against a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical and other forms of cancer.

The vaccine will now be offered to female students from Grades 5 to 9.

The board says that they consulted with 104 schools after they decided to reopen the debate over the vaccine back in October.

“It’s safe to say that we had thoughts all over the board, both pros and cons, but that parents wanted this vaccine in out schools. So we responded to that,” Mary Martin, chair of the Catholic school board said.

The vaccine has been banned by the board since 2008, when Calgary Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said it wasn’t appropriate to offer the vaccine to girls in their schools.

He worries that vaccinating girls against a sexually transmitted disease confuses the church’s message about chastity.

The Catholic school board said in June that they take their direction from the bishop.

One HPV sufferer is lauding the decision by the school board, saying that the disease has left her son with a myriad of problems.

"I have one of the youngest, smallest, premature babies on record," Audrey Farrier says. "He's had 19 surgeries, 121 doctors appointments, seven years of tube feeding, three years of oxygen. He has cerebral palsy, kidney disease, and lung disease."

The board expects to roll  out for Grade 5 and Grade 9 students next month.

Another plan will be put forward to get students outside of Grades 5 and 9 vaccinated.

Parents will still need to provide consent for their children to get the vaccination.