New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) announced Tuesday that he has reversed his former position and now intends to veto a bill that requires girls entering the sixth grade to receive the HPV vaccine. Richardson had pledged last month to sign the bill upon its passing, but has recently changed his mind due to concerns from parents and doctors. “While everyone recognizes the benefits of this vaccine, there is insufficient time to educate parents, schools and health care providers,” Gov. Richardson told the Associated Press.
State Senator Steve Komadina (R), the bill’s sponsor, says that he respects the governor’s decision but is still in full support of the vaccine, pointing out that it requires parents to be informed of the benefits and allows them to opt out if they choose, the Advocate reports.
Richardson did sign a related bill that will require health-insurance policies and plans to cover the vaccine for girls aged 9-14, reports the Associated Press. The veto will have no affect on the State Health Department’s plan to make the vaccine available through school nurses and at no cost. Bills have been introduced in nearly 20 other states requiring the vaccine to be administered to all girls entering grade school.