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Posted at 3:14 PM ET, 01/21/2011

House approves bill to end HPV vaccine mandate

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle

Virginia's House of Delegates approved a bill Friday that would drop the state's requirement that sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus before enrolling in public school.

In 2007, Virginia was the first state in the country to enact a mandate that girls receive a vaccine against HPV, which causes genital warts and can cause cervical cancer, after a federal advisory panel suggested routine vaccination for 11- and 12-year-olds in 2006.

The bill is unlikely to be approved by the Democratic-controlled state Senate and enacted into law. But the House's strong rejection of the mandated vaccine, just four years after it was approved overwhelmingly in the same chamber, is a sign of public uneasiness with HPV vaccination.

"We just want to make sure parents are evaluating the risks of what their giving their daughters, and not a legislative body," said Del. Kathy J. Byron (R-Lynchburg), who is sponsoring the measure, ">HB1491. "I don't think that we have the medical degree to make those decisions."

The Republican-led House adopted the bill by a vote of 61 to 33 on Friday, after a lengthy and impassioned debate on Thursday that chipped away at the usual partisan lines.

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle  | January 21, 2011; 3:14 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, State Senate  
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Del. Kathy J. Byron (R-Lynchburg), who is sponsoring the measure, commented that "I don't think that we have the medical degree to make those decisions."

This statement conveniently sidesteps the fact that the Virginia State Legislature enacted the mandate on the basis of overwhelmingly positive recommendations from the medical community. That is, people with medical degrees.

It seems as though there may be another agenda being served here.

Posted by: scientist1222 | January 21, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Would be interesting to find out what financial incentives these legislators were offered to produce their original 'mandate' by a drug company with an obscenely checkered, and well-deserved poor reputation. The HPV vaccine has a very troubling history, little evidence of efficacy or long-term safety, and a lot of anecdotal troubling 'incident' reports.

Posted by: richmand | January 27, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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