October 27, 2010
Del. Kathy Byron wants to end Virginia’s requirement that sixth graders receive a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
Byron, R-Campbell County, has prefiled a bill for the January session of the General Assembly that would repeal a law that says girls must receive the human papillomavirus vaccine unless their parents tell schools in writing that they don’t want their daughters to receive the medication.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jessica Honke said her organization “will work to defeat this bill.”
Similar repeal bills failed in the 2008 and 2010 sessions, but Byron cited new findings concerning the vaccine, which is intended to prevent spread of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus known as HPV.
“There are new concerns regarding the safety of this vaccine that have come to light since Virginia approved the requirement in 2007,” Byron said.
Documents obtained from the Food and Drug Administration by the conservative organization Judicial Watch showed 16 deaths were reported among people who received the papillomavirus vaccine known as Gardasil in 2009 and this year.
“While many vaccines carry risks for a small percentage of those inoculated, the requirement for this vaccine is based on a condition that is not communicable in a school setting,” Byron said.
“That fact clearly sets it apart from the other vaccines required or offered under Virginia law,” Byron said in a news release.
Byron said her bill would not prevent children from receiving the vaccine if parents still want it administered.
Nineteen states have passed HPV-related laws since the vaccine, developed by Merck & Co., was approved in 2006. Most of the states require some form of public education about HPV.
Virginia and the District of Columbia require the use of the vaccine.