Cervical Cancer vaccine

The Kentucky House passed a bill during the last session of the General Assembly, which would require young girls to receive a vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer.

Under the legislation, parents could "opt out" if they did not want their child to get the vaccine.

The bill didn't make it through the Senate.

One of the topics fueling the controversy is the fact that the vaccine is for the sexually transmitted disease, HPV, or the Human Papilloma Virus. Some are saying if the government mandates the vaccine it's interfering too much in a parent's right to choose.

"We really need to be careful with this piece of legislation because the government is taking over the rights of parents. The government is raising our children and we don't want that; we want to have some say in our children and what we put in our children," said Representative Jim DeCesare.

However Dr. Debra Sowell said if the government does require a vaccine, they should have all of the information needed to make an educated decision.

"I think when the legislature decides any particular vaccine is important enough the legislate it, I would hope they have enough medical backing for that. It's not really where we're taking the decision out of the parents hands," Dr. Sowell said.

The cervical cancer vaccine has been available since June 2006. Since it's a new vaccine, some feel it hasn't been tested enough.

"We should have an educational program. We should inform the public about this type of cancer and have programs in place if people do want to get the shot," DeCesare said.

"We're trying to use our 6th grade physicals since that's a time kids come in anyway, as a time to educate parents about the vaccine," Sowell said.

DeCesare said he expects to see the cervical cancer vaccine bill before the 2008 session of the General Assembly because there are enough people who are very passionate about the legislation.


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