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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
VIRGINIA: Bill to End HPV Vaccine Mandate Passes Virginia Panel
Bob Lewis
January 25, 2012
Associated Press (01.24.12) - Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A state House committee on Tuesday voted 14-8 to pass a measure that would end Virginia's requirement that sixth-grade schoolgirls be vaccinated against human papillomavirus. The Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee's largely partisan vote sends HB 1112 to the full House for consideration as early as Friday. Conservatives have pushed to repeal the HPV vaccination law for years.

Critics say the mandate usurps parental discretion and facilitates premarital sex. Bill sponsor Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Campbell) also criticized the opt-out clause for parents.

"'Opt-out' is never a choice for parents in my mind because there are too many times that the parents really are not aware," Byron said. "The best choice is to leave it entirely with the parents and not have government get in the middle of it." "We mandate a whole slew of immunizations for our children ... and we don't leave it up to the parents," said Del. Chris Stolle (Virginia Beach), a gynecologist and the committee's lone Republican dissenter. "What this mandate does is [require] that we inform parents that HPV vaccination is available for their children. It ensures that the vaccination will be provided by insurance companies and the state and by the health departments. By removing the mandate, all we're doing is not sending a letter."

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