Proposed HPV Vaccination Requirement Draws Criticism
Some critics of a bill (AB 16) introduced last week by Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Sally Lieber (D-San Jose) say the legislation would promote promiscuity and premarital sex, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The bill would require all California girls entering the sixth grade to be immunized against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection that has been linked to cervical cancer.
The bill would require medical providers administering the vaccine to inform parents in writing of the link between HPV and cervical cancer (Hines/DeArmond, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/13).
The legislation would become the state's only immunization requirement aimed at preventing a virus contracted through sexual contact. State law permits parents to opt out of vaccination requirements if the requirements conflict with their beliefs (California Healthline, 12/8).
Assembly member John Benoit (R-Riverside) said the bill could be construed as an endorsement for premarital sex. He said that parents should have the option of having their daughters vaccinated but that vaccination should not be a school requirement.
Richard Ackerman, president of the Pro-Family Law Center, said the bill's provision that allows parents to sign a waiver refusing the vaccination puts an "unfair burden" on them. Parents should be the first to give permission, he said (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/13).
Gardasil, the brand name of the vaccine, targets four strains of HPV that cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases and about 90% of genital warts cases. Cervical cancer accounts for 3,700 deaths in the U.S. annually, according to CDC (California Healthline, 12/8).