Senate Rejects HPV Vaccination Delay

February 22, 2008

(AP) A Senate committee has rejected legislation to postpone mandatory vaccinations of sixth-grade girls against a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

The Education and Health Committee voted 10 to 5 today to kill Delegate Bob Marshall's bill delaying the mandate from this fall until the fall of 2010.

Virginia is the only state with a law requiring girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus. Marshall said the state should wait until more is known about the vaccine's side effects. Opponents of the mandate also have argued that the inoculation could promote promiscuity because the virus is spread through sexual contact.

But Colleen Kraft of the American Academy of Pediatrics said parents can opt out of the mandate, and girls who have been vaccinated have shown no side effects.

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