Washington Post (09.14.07) - Monday, September 17, 2007
Two D.C. Council members have called for repealing the law
that requires girls entering sixth grade to have the human
papillomavirus vaccine. The legislation, passed in April and
signed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), calls for immunizations
to be given by fall 2009. Council Members Yvette M. Alexander
(D-Ward 7) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) were both elected in
special elections after the measure passed.
Alexander expressed fear that parents may not be properly
informed about the vaccine, its effects and the chance to opt
out. Both Council members said they are not convinced the city
should mandate a vaccine that was approved by FDA slightly
more than a year ago.
"People are saying it's a wonder drug? Based on what?" Bowser
"I think certain things government should be left out of,"
The controversial bill passed in April in a 7-3 vote. With the
two new members, there could be five votes against the law and
enough momentum to overturn it. The law passed after it was
amended to delay the required vaccinations by a year and a
provision was added to mandate an education campaign and
Repealing the law may require a proposal to the health
committee headed by David A. Catania (I-At Large) who co-
sponsored the bill. Catania and co-sponsor Mary M. Cheh (D-
Ward 3) said they object to any effort to repeal the law.
Catania said the year-long delay and the education campaign
addressed opponents' concerns. Cheh said Alexander and Bowser
need to do more research and, "When they do, they'll see that
the council's vote was the right one."