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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

One Year Delay on Florida HPV Mandate is Not Enough Roundtable Charges
February 20 2007

Elaine Merritt, 800.522.VOTE

Tallahassee, Florida - In a surprise move today Florida State Senator Mike Fasano announced he would amend his proposal to force all 11 and 12 year old female students to be inoculated for HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. Senator Fasano now proposes the mandatory vaccinations begin in the 2009-2010 school year.

Medical professionals, citizens, and parents all have major concerns regarding the plan to force 11 and 12 year old children to accept a three stage inoculation of Gardasil, a drug produced by Merck and Co. The Florida Policy Roundtable stands opposed to this mandatory inoculation program here in Florida and across the nation. The Roundtable has been alerting citizens through radio broadcasts, the internet and legislative alerts. Citizens have been contacting state lawmakers in protest to the HPV campaign.

“The pressure is rising as the truth about Merck's political campaign is coming to light,” stated Elaine Merritt, Legislative Director for the Florida Policy Roundtable. “We have been giving people the facts on both sides of this debate and it is crystal clear that parents do not want the government forcing their children into HPV vaccination. Everyone is in favor of wiping out cervical cancer but people don't want the government dictating their health choices for their children. In addition, no one wants their children to be used as guinea pigs for a political project that nets Merck and Co. billions of dollars.”

As for the idea of waiting one year to enact the mandatory vaccination, Merritt stated, “That won't work either. The more people get the facts on this drug and the for-profit lobbying campaign behind it, the greater the pressure will grow to abandon the idea. The state of Michigan held this debate and the measure was defeated. Other states are now engaged. Politicians cannot afford to be in the hip pockets of the drug companies, especially when the potential victims of their collusion are children.”

The Roundtable contends that if the potential benefits of Gardasil are real, then parents will voluntarily want to have their children vaccinated. Such intensely personal decisions for minor children should remain between families and their doctors, not government mandates. Gardasil is currently available through Florida’s Vaccines for Children Program and through primary physicians for those parents who wish to voluntarily take advantage of this vaccine. Since parents can currently obtain the vaccine through their primary physicians or their local health departments, there should be no rush by the Legislature to mandate it.

The Roundtable is a state-based public, non-profit education and research organization founded in 1980. The Florida Roundtable Legislative Director is Mrs. Elaine Merritt of Tallahassee.

For more information on the Roundtable Campaign against mandatory inoculation, visit APRoundtable.org. For interviews and follow up, contact Mrs. Elaine Merritt at emerritt@aproundtable.org and 850-445-8770 or Mr. Rob Walgate, Vice-President, at 1.800.522.VOTE.