Vaccine plans fuel debate over public health vs. parents' rights
Associated Press | January 20, 2007
Viruses can quickly spread in crowded elementary school classrooms. That made it easy for state officials to require children to be vaccinated against measles, polio or chicken pox.
But a mandatory vaccine against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted disease is proving to be a tougher sell in statehouses around the country.
Merck and Company's Gardasil vaccine protects girls and women against four of the dozens of strains of human papillomavirus (HPV.)
The federal government approved the vaccine in June for girls and women ages nine to 26.
An influential government advisory panel later recommended all 11- and 12-year-old girls get the series of shots.
Lawmakers in Texas and 11 other states have proposed adding Gardasil to the list of shots young girls must receive to attend school. But that's sparking a debate over the intersection of sex, public health and parental rights.
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