The Michigan Senate passed two bills last Wednesday requiring girls entering the sixth grade in the 2007-2008 school year to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. If passed by the state Assembly after the end of their recess in November, the legislation will be the first of its kind since the vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June. The bills were passed in the state Senate 36-1.
The legislation passed by the Michigan Senate allows parents to not vaccinate their daughters for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. Seventy-five percent of girls in Michigan will be covered by their insurance to receive the vaccine, which costs $360, and those who are not can receive coverage from the federal Vaccines for Children program, according to Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.
The HPV vaccine is approved for women ages nine to 26 to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. HPV is responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts cases, according to the FDA. Gardasil has been found to be most effective when given to young women before they become sexually active, as the vaccine only prevents contraction of the disease, and does not treat infected women. It is estimated that nationwide 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2006 and 3,700 will die from it, according to the Detroit Free Press.