24 January 2011
A bill introduced into the Tennessee State Legislature (HB1580/SB1958) and discussed this week would take away the power of the Commissioner of Health to require vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases and give that power to the General Assembly. The existing code (49-6-5001(a)) reads:
The commissioner of health is authorized, subject to the approval of the public health council, to designate diseases against which children must be immunized prior to attendance at any school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility of Tennessee.
The proposed legislation would amend that section to add:
provided, however, an immunization for a disease only transmitted sexually, for which a preventive vaccine has been approved and recommended for girls and women in a specific age group, shall not be required unless specifically authorized by the general assembly.
This move stems from controversy over the HPV vaccine, which some worry will promoting sexual activity among girls.