Contact: Michelle Newman, Concerned Women for America of Virginia, 804-475-1220, firstname.lastname@example.org
STERLING, Va., Feb. 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- In light of warnings of adverse drug reactions by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Concerned Women for America of Virginia is urging the Virginia General Assembly to hold off on mandatory HPV vaccinations for schoolgirls aged eleven and older. Pro-family groups have been cautioning against mandates for any drug, especially one that guards against a disease that is caused by a sexually transmitted virus because such mandates undermine parental rights.
NVIC, a Vienna-based nonprofit advocacy group, warned of apparent side effects such as loss of consciousness, seizures, joint pain, severe headaches, muscle weakness, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. NVIC based its warnings on an analysis of reports made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System since last July when the Center for Disease Control issued a universal use recommendation for Gardasil for all young girls. NVIC also warned that potential interactions with other vaccines have not been studied.
A bill to make vaccinations for HPV mandatory for Virginia's sixth graders (SB1230) by September, 2008, passed the Virginia State Senate on Friday and could be adopted by the General Assembly as early as this week. According to the Senate bill's provisions, girls could not enter the sixth grade in Virginia public schools without the vaccination.
A similar bill was passed in the House. HB 2035 includes a provision for parents to opt-out after reviewing material describing the link between HPV and cervical cancer. There is no requirement for information about the potential side-effects of the HPV vaccine.
"This bill has been a rush to judgment by lawmakers before all the facts about the vaccine are known," said CWA of VA interim director Michelle Newman.
"Do we really want to make parents choose between risking side effects or having their children be excluded from school? Let's not make our little girls 'guinea pigs' with a drug that has only been on the market for seven months, can have such serious side effects, and has no data on long-term effects."
"Let's table the measure for this legislative session and assess the information on drug reactions that is coming in," Newman added.
"While the language of the House version is an improvement, it is still premature and reckless to mandate this vaccine at this time - period."
HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted disease that is not well-protected from by condoms. It is the primary cause of cervical cancer (99 percent), which is diagnosed in 13,000 American women a year. The vaccination is given in three shots with a cost of $140 to $275 per shot, according to NVIC. Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last July for females ages 9 to 29 as a vaccine against two of the most dangerous strains of HPV.