Thursday, December 14, 2006

HPV Vaccine pushed along in CA

If passed, California bill AB 16, will require that all girls be vaccinated for HPV before entering the sixth grade, unless their parents file a letter stating that the vaccine is against their beliefs. The bill, introduced by Assembly Speaker Sally Lieber (D), does not seek funding to cover the cost of the vaccine however. While that's a bit unsettling (the thing costs over 350 bucks) a lot more kids would be staying home if the other mandated vaccines (measles, mumps, etc.) required taking out a small loan. So, I actually doubt that once this is all rolled out parents/guardians will have to eat the cost.

That said, I totally support efforts to vaccinate all 12 year old girls. Funny to me however, is that most of the other vaccines on the required-for-school list are there for a very similar (and good) reason: they are EASILY transmitted kid to kid (and not by kids having sex with one another). I say that, not because I think the vaccine is the perfect subliminal messages telling all 12 year olds to go boinking around (no evidence of that with hepB vaccines), but b/c it's a lovely shift towards longer term prevention in schools.

For the future, I'd like to see boys covered as well. We didn't kick measles or polio by vaccinating half of everyone.

Read this bioethics blog for a great critique of the NEJM's latest about HPV, "The Ethics and Politics of Compulsary HPV Vaccination."

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