Are state mandates for the HPV shot the right way to go?

April 1, 2007

That depends on who you ask. Texas Gov. Rick Perry believes it was the right thing to do: He delivered an executive order requiring girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated with the new human papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil. Nationwide, 18 states are thinking about following in Texas' footsteps and 28 states have considered related legislation, such as mandating education about or insurance coverage for the drug, according to American Medical News (2/26/2007).

That depends on who you ask. Texas Gov. Rick Perry believes it was the right thing to do: He delivered an executive order requiring girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated with the new human papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil. Nationwide, 18 states are thinking about following in Texas' footsteps and 28 states have considered related legislation, such as mandating education about or insurance coverage for the drug, according to American Medical News (2/26/2007).

However, the Texas House of Representatives has disagreed with Gov. Perry's move and approved a bill to nullify his executive order. Moreover, the Texas Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have asserted that it is too soon to consider state mandates. For one, these groups argue, the long-term safety profile and accessibility issues for the drug have not yet been clarified. In addition, mandating the use of Merck's Gardasil could undermine confidence in the childhood vaccination system as a whole; after all, vocal individuals and groups could use the rush to mandate as additional ammunition to argue against a one-size-fits-all immunization program or one designed to increase profits for drug makers.