Mandating the HPV Vaccine for Sixth Grade Girls
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States (Cook 210). There are over 100 types of HPV viruses and 30 or more of these viruses that can be sexually transmitted. (Vamos, McDermott, Daley 303). There are approximately 20 million people in the United States that are infected with HPV, and there are about 6.2 million new HPV cases each year (Vamos, McDermott, and Daley 303). Even though most HPV cases are non-cancerous, two of the HPV strains are known to cause 70 percent of cervical cancer, and the other two strains cause 90 percent of genital warts cases (Javitt, Berkowitz, and Gostin 384). Mendenhall, Elisa, and O'Mara stated, "Because of the cancer link, the strains that are the greatest medical concerns are those that are sexually transmitted"(49). It is estimated that it costs the United States about five billion dollars each year to diagnose and treat HPV related diseases (Cook 211).
In the fall of 2006, Michigan was the first state to introduce legislation requiring the vaccine Gardasil before students enrolled in public school (Mendenhall, Elissa, and O’Mara 45). Then, on February 2, 2007, Governor Rick Perry of Texas issued an executive order that required all middle school aged girls to be vaccinated against HPV (Javitt, Berkowitz, and Gostin 386). Javitt, Berkowitz, and Gostin stated, "The HPV vaccine is the first to be mandated for only one gender"(390). Governor Perry felt that he had to mandate the vaccine due to his strong belief that this vaccination would be able to protect millions of young women from cervical cancer. "The HPV vaccine is perhaps the first in a long line of cancer vaccines on the horizon, and it should be welcomed with open arms and open minds"(Moser).
The FDA approved the use of two HPV vaccines which are Gardasil in 2006 and Cervarix in 2009 (Adams and Carnright 46). Gardasil is expected to provide protection against the four strains of HPV that are linked to cervical cancer and genital warts (Javitt, Berkowitz, and Gostin 384). Gardasil cost $120.00 per dose-$360.00 for three doses, and should be given before a girl becomes sexually active to maintain full benefits of the vaccination (Cook 211). Recent studies have proven that Gardasil has had no serious side effects, and the vaccine appears to provide protection for only 5 years (Vamos, McDermott, and Daley 305). Governor Perry, ordered state health authorities to allow all girls between the ages of nine and eighteen, who were uninsured or whose insurance did not cover the vaccine, to have free access to the vaccine (Cook 211).
The HPV vaccine should be mandated for all girls because the CDC recommends the HPV vaccine to be safe, and the vaccine can be administer to females between the ages of 9 and 26 (Vamos, McDermott, and Daley 303). According to Vamos, McDermott, and Daley, "Opponents claim that the HPV vaccine will change the onset and frequency of...