Florida Legislature Considers Vaccination of Girls Who Are 11 and 12 Years of Age February 08 2007
Elaine Merritt, EMerritt @ aproundtable.org
SB 660/ HB 561
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)/Schools:
The Senate Bill was filed on 1/18/07, with committee assignments pending. The House Bill was filed 01/23/07. On 01/31/07, the House referred the bill to the Schools & Learning Council and the Policy & Budget Council.
SB 660 and HB 561: • Requires all Florida private and public middle schools to provide information to students who are 11 and 12 years of age and their parents concerning the human papillomavirus (HPV), its vaccine, and cervical cancer.
• Prohibits those students from being admitted into school without evidence of vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV).
• Provides that a principal may not knowingly admit certain students into school without evidence of vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
• Requires the student to submit to the school acceptable evidence of the vaccination.
• Requires the student to apply for an exception and to submit to the school proof that her parent or guardian has elected that she not receive the vaccine.
• Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Health, to prescribe the content of the information regarding the connection between the HPV and cervical cancer and the availability of a HPV vaccine.
Note: Home school parents should follow this bill closely. The provision relating to a principal's duties may affect a home schooled student wanting to take courses in a private or public school.
Facts: • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are over 100 strains of HPV, of which over 30 types can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
• The new vaccine approved in June 2006 by the FDA prevents infection in 4 strains of HPV. The vaccine is administered in 3 doses costing approximately $120/dose plus the cost of 3 doctor visits. This would easily equate to approximately $500 per child.
On Principle: This type of legislative mandate is wrong for multiple reasons.
• It is an invasion by the state into the privacy of the family and the lives of minor children. No matter how well intended, the utilization of this vaccine should be a matter for parents to decide, not school principals. HPV is not measles, nor polio, it is a sexually transmitted disease.
• The state is also using the public and private school systems as a vehicle for the exclusive profitability of a single drug company that currently manufactures this vaccine.
• This invasive mandate also places an unfair bureaucratic burden upon parents who chose to optout of the program.
ACTION: 1. Contact your state Senator and Representative and ask him / her to not usurp the right of parents to make medical decisions for their minor children. Urge them to oppose SB 660 and HB 561.
2. Go to: http://www.myfloridahouse.com/ and find the membership of the committees and councils where the House Bill has been referred and ask those committees and council members to oppose HB 561.
3. When the Senate Bill receives its committees of reference, follow through with the same procedure.
Write or call TODAY! The Florida Legislature will begin its regular session on March 6th. The bills call for the shots next school year and would affect at least 60,000 Florida girls.
Contact information: Florida Senate - www.flsenate.gov (type in your zip code on the bottom left of the web page).
For more information contact Elaine Merritt, Florida Legislative Director at EMerritt@aproundtable.org.