Bill Filed to Immunize Against HPV

by ekramer on December 31, 2008

For the third year, a bill has been filed in the Kentucky General Assembly that would require girls to be vaccinated against a virus that is the source of almost all cervical cancer. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

In 2006, the federal government approved a vaccine that immunizes females against the human papillomavirus or HPV, which is sexually transmitted. Since then,

Rep. David Watkins of Henderson has filled three bills that would require girls to receive the vaccine. It also allows parents to decline immunization for their children and file statements with state government. Some people believe immunizing girls is a act that encourages promiscuity.

The bill failed to pass the Senate in the last two General Assemblies. Still, Watkins is trying again, even though he knows that not all of his constituents who have daughters would have them immunized.

“I have a few people that don’t want their daughters to have the vaccine,” Watkins says. “And I think that’s perfectly acceptable as long as they understand that this could possibly keep their children from contacting cervical cancer. I would like to see our state to move forward and become a progressive state though.”

Watkins says the vaccine is a breakthrough in cancer prevention that can benefit a state that is consistently ranked as one of the country’s unhealthiest.

“This vaccine, basically, stands a chance of protecting young ladies from cervical cancer about 70 percent of the time,” he says. “So, it’s really a miracle vaccine because it’s the first vaccine that we have out that actually stands a chance of preventing cancer.”

Watkins says the federal government would cover the cost of the program.

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