Roanoke Times (01.27.12) - Monday, January 30, 2012
In a 62-34 vote Friday, Virginia's House of Delegates passed
HB 1112, which would eliminate the state mandate that girls be
vaccinated against human papillomavirus before entering sixth
grade. The General Assembly in 2007 approved adding HPV
vaccination to the state's list of required immunizations for
children. Under the law's liberal opt-out clause, parents can
refuse their consent for vaccination after receiving
information about the link between HPV and cervical cancer.
A similar bill to eliminate the mandate passed the Republican-
controlled House last year, but it failed to advance in the
Democratic-controlled Senate Education and Health Committee.
Republicans now hold a majority on that committee after taking
control of the Senate this year. The sponsor of HB 1112, Del.
Kathy Byron (R-Campbell County), said parents and doctors
should decide whether to vaccinate girls against the STD.
Del. Jeion Ward (D-Hampton) said she is concerned that the
children of low-income families would have more difficulty
accessing the vaccine without a state mandate. She also
expressed dismay that more female House members were not
involved in the brief floor debate.