By Barbara F. Hollingsworth
February 21, 2012
Earlier this month, Virginia’s House of Delegates voted 62-34 to rescind its first-in-the-nation Gardasil mandate.
The 2007 state law requires pre-adolescent girls to be vaccinated before entering the sixth grade against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. The law’s repeal is now before the state Senate.
Parents currently receive an “opt-in” letter explaining the benefits of the vaccine, and their daughters are not barred from attending school if they refuse.
However, the most important information parents need to make an informed decision has been missing up to now. A just-published medical risk/benefit analysis by two Canadian researchers shows why the law should never have passed in the first place.
A year after Gardasil was fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration, the District of Columbia and Texas followed Virginia’s lead and Gardasil became a hot-button political issue.
In the Sept. 12, 2011, Republican presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann called it a “potentially dangerous drug” and said it could lead to “mental retardation.” Bachmann’s first claim was true, the second was not.
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