Rick Perry's HPV vaccine problem
Rick Perry is in a political bind over ordering girls to receive injections to protect against a sexually transmitted disease. The controversy is of special interest to tea party and social conservatives.
(Page 2 of 2)
A look at the record among states shows why it’s such a controversial issue.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In 2006, the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended routine vaccination against HPV for girls between ages 11 and 12.
“The debate in states has centered – in part – around school vaccine requirements, which are determined by individual states,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Some states grant regulatory bodies, like the Board of Health, the power to require vaccines, but the legislature must still provide funding.”
“Some people who support availability of the vaccine do not support a school mandate, citing concerns about the drug's cost, safety, and parents' rights to refuse,” reports the NCSL. “Still others may have moral objections related to a vaccine mandate for a sexually transmitted disease. Financing is another concern: if states make the vaccine mandatory, they must also address funding issues, including for Medicaid and SCHIP [State Children's Health Insurance Program] coverage and youth who are uninsured, and whether to require coverage by insurance plans. This has caused some to push for further discussion and debate about whether or not to require the vaccine.”
Since 2006, 41 state legislatures and the District of Columbia have introduced laws related to promoting or requiring insurance coverage for the HPV vaccination, reports the Associated Press, but only Virginia and the District of Columbia have laws requiring it. Even in Virginia, a bill would repeal the HPV vaccination requirement for female children.
Though Bachmann took the lead among Republican presidential candidates in criticizing Perry on the HPV vaccination, she, too ,got herself in a bit of bind on the issue. Medical groups this week said Bachmann was wrong to suggest that the anti-HPV drug could cause “mental retardation.”
“There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement,” Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement Tuesday. “Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.”
But the focus of the issue remains on Perry.
"If there's one thing that Governor Perry is going to have to deal with it's the mandate for HPV," Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer told the AP. She credited Perry for publicly admitting a mistake but added: "I don't think this is the last we've heard of it."