California: Bill Backs Cancer Shot for Girls
December 14, 2006
In California, an Assembly bill would require girls entering the sixth grade to receive Gardasil, a three-series vaccination against four types of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts. Assembly Bill 16, sponsored by Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View), would apply to both public and private school students after July 1, 2008.
"Any policy that improves the likelihood that people who should get the vaccination do get the vaccination is a good thing," said Dr. Len Fromer, former president of the California Academy of Family Physicians.
"What kind of message is it to tell a young girl that she needs a shot because you expect her to have sex before she's 15?" asked Randy Thomasson, president of the social issue lobby Campaign for Children and Families.
Under the legislation, HPV vaccinations would be included with other state-mandated immunizations, including shots against measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, rubella, whooping cough, diphtheria, hepatitis B, chicken pox, and haemophilus influenza type B. Parents can opt their child out of any vaccination by writing a letter to school officials stating that participation would violate their beliefs.
AB 16 does not propose state funding, so the more than $360 regimen would have to be paid for by parents, private insurers or federal insurance schemes for the poor. Kaiser, Aetna, and Blue Shield cover Gardasil. More than 100 insurers comprising 94 percent of privately insured individuals nationwide cover the HPV vaccine, said Kelley Dougherty, a Gardasil spokesperson.
12.08.2006; Jim Sanders
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.