Washington Post (02.28.12) - Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A contentious measure that would have repealed a five-year-old
requirement that sixth-grade girls in Virginia be vaccinated
against human papillomavirus (HPV) died in the state Senate
The HPV bill passed the House earlier this year, and
supporters of the measure figured they had a better chance of
repeal in the GOP-controlled Senate. But Republican Sens. John
Watkins (Chesterfield) and Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach)
joined all Democrats in voting 22-17 to table the matter until
Supporters said parents, not the state, should decide whether
girls should be vaccinated against the STD. But dissenters
like Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) maintain "the source of
this threat is not sex. It is a virus." "Whatever we do in
this body, we should do based on reason and not based on rigid
ideology," he noted.
Virginia was the first and only state to adopt an HPV vaccine
mandate after a federal advisory panel recommended routine
vaccination for girls ages 11-12 as a way to prevent cervical
cancer; the District of Columbia also passed a mandate.
Virginia's HPV vaccination rates are above the national
average: 54 percent of girls ages 13-17 in the state had
received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 49
percent nationwide, a 2010 CDC survey found.