HPV Vaccine Bill

A compromise on the HPV vaccine bill may be on its way to the State House.

On Friday, Feb. 9, 2006 in the House Health and Welfare Committee, State Representative Addia Wuchner proposed the compromise to the bill, which would require all girls entering middle school to be vaccinated for HPV.

Representative Wuchner's office said she is now prepared to file a substitute to the bill. This substitute would direct the State Department of Public Health to simply recommend the HPV vaccine for public and private middle school-aged girls, it would not require the vaccine.

Another part would include public awareness, education and a prevention plan on HPV and cervical cancer.

Texas became the first state to mandate the HPV vaccine but area legislators don't think Kentucky will follow suit.

Senator Richie Sanders said Governor Ernie Fletcher proposed that Kentucky provide the vaccine on a voluntary basis.

"I think that's a better approach then what Texas did, they just mandated that everyone of age receive that vaccine," Senator Sanders said.

Many legislators say they support the parents’ right to choose whether or not their daughter gets the vaccine.

"We know that it will save lives, if people take it but there are a lot of things that are between parents and their daughters," Senator Brett Guthrie said.

"I think it's very important that we get passed, but not at the point of preventing parents from making a very important and informed conscience decision on whether or not they want to do that. I think it should be in their hands," Representative Johnny Bell said.

"It hasn't been tested, they say it has but to be on the safe side I think people that feel uncomfortable with it should have the right to say I want my daughter to opt out of this," Representative Dottie Sims said.

While some legislators support the bill with a measure that would allow parents to opt out of the vaccine, others think it should be an "opt in" policy.

"If you want to do it then you can do it. It shouldn't be mandated and then someone has the option of getting out of it. Let's not make it mandatory, let's make it an option where it's an option to get in," Representative Jim DeCesare said.

While the vaccine is new and controversial, some are comparing it to the days when not much was known about the polio vaccine.

"I remember going to a school and taking this little sugar cube and it saved a lot of people's lives," Representative Brent Yonts said.

Speaker Jody Richards said the members of the legislature don't want to go against anyone's moral convictions but the research shows the vaccine prevents certain types of cervical cancer.

"We have to try to save as many lives as we can," House Speaker Jody Richards said.

Representative Wuchner's office said the bill was scheduled to be up for a vote during a recess in the House of Representatives. However, that did not occur and appears to be on hold for now.

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