Bill Would Mandate HPV Vaccination
Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Sally Lieber (D-San Jose) on Monday introduced a bill (AB 16) that would require all California girls entering the sixth grade to be immunized against human papillomavirus, which has been linked to cervical cancer, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The legislation would become the state's only immunization requirement that is intended for a single gender and the only requirement aimed at preventing a virus contracted solely through sexual contact. State law permits parents to refuse any vaccination because of a conflict in beliefs.
Parents, insurance firms or federal programs for low-income families would have to cover the cost of the vaccination, as the legislation does not seek to allocate state funding. The cost per child of Gardasil, the brand name of the vaccine, is more than $360.
Gardasil targets four strains of HPV that cause about 70% of cervical cancer and about 90% of genital warts. Cervical cancer accounts for 3,700 deaths in the U.S. annually, according to the CDC.
The proposal would take effect in July 2008 (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 12/8).