Effective December 14th, young women who are seeking legal permanent resident status in the United States will no longer be required to be vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). According to the Federal Register, “while HPV may be an age appropriate vaccine for an immigrant applicant, HPV neither causes outbreaks nor is it associated with outbreaks…Further, HPV has not been eliminated, nor is in the process of elimination, in the United States. Therefore, because HPV does not meet the adopted criteria, it will not be a required vaccine for immigrant and adjustment of status to permanent residence applicants.”
The requirement was originally implemented in July 2008 and was mandated by the Federal Immigration Authorities. It applied to immigrant women ages 11 to 26 who were seeking permanent resident status. Women’s and immigrant rights groups argued that the requirement, which is gender-specific and costly, is discriminatory.
After the announcement Friday, Rocio Cordoba, Executive Director of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, said in a statement, “We commend the CDC for recognizing that all women and girls–regardless of their immigration status–must be treated with dignity in the context of any medical procedure, including the HPV vaccine. As reproductive justice advocates, we strive to ensure that women and communities have valuable information, coupled with the resources and power to make well-informed and uncoerced decisions about their bodies.”
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice worked in coalition with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health to work against the requirement. Additionally, more than 140 related organizations signed on to a letter against the requirement sent to Center for Disease Control Director Thomas Friedan, MD.