HPV Vaccination Requirement?

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Many of the fifth graders at Pleasant View Magnet School have most likely received all of their vaccinations. That's because under Michigan law, nine different immunizations are required before they enter kindergarten. But for the girls, one more vaccination may soon be needed.

State Senator Beverly Hammerstrom, R-Temperance, says, "What I'm proposing is that the new HPV vaccine which protects against cervical cancer be included in the list of vaccines we require for school."

A group of female lawmakers is supporting legislation that would require all girls in Michigan be vaccinated for the sexually transmitted disease Human Papillomavirus before entering sixth grade.

Sparrow Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Joseph Meunier says, "If the vaccine is given to women who are not yet sexually active or who have not yet been exposed to HPV, it's clearly more effective."

The vaccine Gardasil was recently approved by the FDA in June. While its main purpose is to protect against HPV, it's also expected to help lower the number of cases of cervical cancer in women because two strains of the STD are the main cause of the disease. However there have been arguments as to whether or not the immunization would encourage young girls to have sex.

Parent John Hopkins says he doesn't think so. "If they had vaccinations for AIDS it wouldn't mean people would go out and have sex. You'd want them to get the vaccine. If it's the leading cause of cervical cancer, then it's the same thing."

If the legislation passes, the requirement would go into effect next year.