Councilmembers Mary Cheh and David Catania yesterday introduced a bill before the City Council to require the HPV Vaccine for all school-going female teens. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is thought to be responsible for a large proportion of cervical cancer cases. The real problem here is that the vaccine itself costs $360. While Federal support is available for those on Medicaid, where does that put the rest of the students who aren’t on Medicaid? $360 just to go back to school? It’s not like Measles or Rubella or the Mumps which are commonly contagious, HPV is only spread through genital to genital contact, so I’m thinking this ought to be a parental choice, not a state mandate.
The intent, for certain, is well-intentioned, but is trying out a new vaccine on DC schoolgirls, at their expense in many cases, really the best way to promote good health practices? Perhaps the city would do well to instead offer further assistance and information regarding the vaccine instead of trying to mandate something that’s been around only a short time and whose side effects in the long term aren’t yet known.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs