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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
VIRGINIA: Repeal of HPV Immunization Mandate Is Killed
Anita Kumar
February 28, 2012
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A contentious measure that would have repealed a five-year-old requirement that sixth-grade girls in Virginia be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) died in the state Senate Monday.

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 2013.

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.