Indiana: Parents of Sixth-Grade Girls Get Notice of HPV Vaccine
August 23, 2007
Parents of sixth-grade girls in Indiana are receiving letters informing them about the link between human papillomavirus and cervical cancer and the availability of the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The two-page letter schools sent home to parents explains that Gardasil protects against four strains of the STD.
The letters are being sent out under a compromise law passed this spring. Some lawmakers originally wanted to mandate HPV vaccination, but the General Assembly settled on the letters after conservative groups said requiring Gardasil would encroach on parents' rights.
Dr. Charlene Graves, medical director of immunization programs for the state health department, said the letter was vetted by around 50 experts, including pediatricians and school nurses. The aim was to present the information in an easy-to-understand format. "It is important for families to understand what HPV is about and what vaccination can do, and information in the fact sheet is to acquaint them with that," she said.
The state Department of Education sent the letters to superintendents and school principals on Aug. 3, said Mary Jane Michalak, a department spokesperson.
In addition, the new law directs parents to return an anonymous response form indicating whether or not they plan to vaccinate their daughter or that they declined to disclose the information. The form is optional and schools cannot prevent a student from enrolling, attending or graduating if parents do not provide the information, said Michalak.
New York Gov. Spitzer Signs Measure Allowing Rape Survivors to Request HIV Tests for Indicted Suspects
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.