HPV :: Perry to rescind executive order mandating HPV vaccination for girls

A group of Texas lawmakers on Monday asked Gov. Rick Perry to rescind an executive order that would mandate vaccination against human papillomavirus for girls entering the sixth grade.

Perry on Friday signed the executive order, which will affect approximately 365,000 girls annually. Perry said that parents who do not want their daughters to receive an HPV vaccine “for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs,” will be able to opt out of the requirement.

Under the executive order, girls and women ages 9 to 21 who are eligible for public assistance will be able to receive Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil at no cost beginning immediately. Perry did not say how much the mandate would cost the state, although it is estimated to be about $60 million.

Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline’s HPV vaccine Cervarix in clinical trials have been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases. FDA in July 2006 approved Gardasil for sale and marketing to girls and women ages 9 to 26, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later that month voted unanimously to recommend that girls ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine. GSK in April plans to file for FDA approval of Cervarix, and it expects approval by the end of this year.

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