Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic World News News Feature

US medical authority questions mandatory HPV vaccination February 28, 2007

A spokesman for the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced his opposition to any law requiring immunization of young women against the human papillomavirus (HPV).

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry recently issued an executive order making HPV vaccination mandatory for all Texas girls entering the 6th grade. The move caused outrage among parents’ groups, who aid that the governor had exceeded his authority and that vaccination against a sexually transmitted disease is inappropriate for pre-teens.

Dr. Jon Abramson, the chairman for the CDC advisory committee on immunization, agreed with critic’s of the Texas mandate. Public schools do not have a compelling reason to vaccinate students, he said, because “a child in school is not at an increased risk for HPV, like he is measles.”

Recent studies have shown that more than one-fourth of American women of child-bearing age are infected with HPV, a virus that is transmitted through sexual contact. HPV occurs in many different forms; some cause symptoms including genital warts, while the more serious forms are linked with cervical cancer. The vaccines that are currently available could immunize women against only some forms of HPV, leaving them exposed to others.