Last Friday, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 61-33 to overturn the 2007 Virginia law mandating that girls be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) prior to entering the sixth grade. Currently in the US, only Virginia and Washington D.C. require that girls be vaccinated against HPV. It is unlikely that the bill will pass in Virginia’s Senate, which has a Democratic majority.
Virginia Delegate Christopher Stolle (R-VA), an obstetrician and gynecologist, asserted that if passed, the bill could result in the deaths of approximately 1,3000 women per year.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) reports that over one-third of American women are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) by the age of 24. While the majority of HPV strains are benign, some strains can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. About 2.2 percent of infected women have a strain that is high-risk for cervical cancer, the recent research finds. Gardasil, which prevents cervical cancer and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, was approved by the FDA in June 2006.