Young Girls Could Be in Line for Vaccine to Stop Cervical Cancer
May 15, 2006
Next month, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide on whether to grant Merck & Co. a license to market its vaccine that targets the two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) linked to genital warts and cervical cancer.
Because HPV can spread quickly among teenagers once they become sexually active, vaccine proponents say it should be given to preteen girls, and potentially boys as well. "I don't know how you argue against a vaccine that prevents cancer," pediatrician David I. Bernstein of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said after addressing the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases in Baltimore on May 9.
Some social conservatives have expressed concern that vaccinating youths could send a message that teen sex is safe and acceptable. But that opposition appears to be softening, and many conservative groups now say they support FDA approval provided vaccination is not required for school admission, a decision usually made by states.
Dr. Gene Rudd, a Tennessee obstetrician-gynecologist who is associate director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, said, "We're health professionals. Where there are diseases out there, the only reasonable way you can protect individuals and society is to be immunized."
Most observers expect FDA will approve the HPV vaccine. If that happens, a group that advises CDC will make specific recommendations about who should be vaccinated.
Los Angeles Times
05.11.06; Jonathan Bor
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.