According to the Washington Post, the D.C. council is considering introducing a bill that would require all girls 13 and under to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Similar proposals are being introduced in California, Colorado and Kentucky.
HPV causes cancer in approximately 10,000 American women annually, and kills about 3,700 according to the American Cancer Society. It is a serious disease, no doubt, and now, a preventable one. But reactions to the proposed mandate were mixed.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the vaccine for preteen girls, Dr. Joseph Bacchini, chairman of the academy’s committee on infectious diseases, says that it’s too early to make it mandatory. “This is a new vaccine,” said Dr. Bachini. “It would be wise to wait until we have additional information about the safety of the vaccine.” But Stanley Gall, of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says “I think this makes perfect sense. There would certainly be a significant health benefit.”
I, for one, will run for the hills if the day comes that the
federal government tells me that I am legally obligated to vaccinate
myself and my daughters against HPV. Why? Well for one thing, it’s a
new vaccine. Long term side effects are unknown. And for another, I
think that the decision to vaccinate our children should be between
parents and doctors, not lawmakers and pharmaceutical companies.
How would you feel if this bill was passed in your state?