Proposed Vaccine Mandate Goes Back to Drawing Board
Assembly member Ed Hernandez (D-Baldwin Park) on Tuesday withdrew legislation (AB 16) that would require all California girls entering the seventh grade to be immunized against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection that is linked to cervical cancer, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 3/14).
Assembly Health Committee members from both parties were reluctant to support some of the bill's provisions and harbored concerns about the vaccine's infancy. Hernandez said he will revise the measure and reintroduce it in April (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14).
Assembly member Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) said he wanted the legislation to provide parents the right to refuse the vaccine (Sacramento Bee, 3/14).
Assembly member Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) said the state should not mandate the vaccine, Gardasil, because it was approved by FDA only in June 2006. He added, "For many drugs, side effects don't show up until much later."
Responding to the criticism, Hernandez said, "We need to realize that the drug is a medical breakthrough that could save women's lives" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14).
The vaccination consists of three shots, which together cost $360. Supporters say federal funding and most health plans will cover the cost.
However, Assembly member Loni Hancock (D-El Cerrito) said, "It's a new vaccine, it's quite expensive, and there will be families who fall through the cracks" (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 3/14).
Hernandez said he will "try to meet with every single (committee) member to address their concern" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14).
CPR's "KXJZ News" on Wednesday reported on the hearing.
The segment includes comments from a state resident who supports the bill and a resident who opposes it (O'Mara, "KXJZ News," CPR, 3/14).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.