Sixth-Grade Girls Still Must Get HPV Vaccine in Virginia

By Alex Wiggins and Pia Talwar – Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Virginia Senate has rejected a House-approved bill to repeal a law requiring girls to get a dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine before entering sixth grade.

The Senate voted 22-17 to send House Bill 1112 back to the Senate Education and Health Committee, effectively killing it for this legislative session.
The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg, has said that the General Assembly acted hastily in 2007 in passing the law mandating the HPV vaccine. She says that the vaccine has not been adequately tested and that parents should decide whether their children should get the vaccine.
About half of sexually active people will get HPV during their lifetime. It is a leading cause of cervical cancer in women and genital warts in men and women.

“I am extraordinarily glad that the commonwealth will continue to immunize young people against this deadly disease,” said Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.

“In the past, the most successful immunization programs, such as those for smallpox or polio, required universal vaccination. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, but with this vaccination, there is hope for ending the suffering caused by cervical cancer.”

The HPV vaccine comes in three doses. Virginia requires girls to receive the first dose before entering sixth grade. The current law has a liberal opt-out clause: Parents can choose not to have their daughters vaccinated after reviewing materials from the Virginia Board of Health describing the link between HPV and cervical cancer.

Virginia was the first state to adopt such a law. The District of Columbia has a similar mandate.

HB 1112 was co-sponsored by Delegate Timothy Hugo of Centreville and six other Republicans. While Republicans generally supported the legislation to rescind the HPV vaccination law, Democrats strongly opposed it.
Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey of Highland Springs said he was “pleased that the Senate chose to effectively kill this legislation for this year, and it is my hope that the lives of young women will continue to be saved as a result.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that both girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 12 get the vaccine to protect them from HPV.

HB 1112 was approved by the House, 62-34, on Jan. 27. Last Thursday, the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted 8-7 in favor of the bill after modifying the legislation: The committee’s version said the Board of Health would give parents information about HPV and the vaccine, and the parent “may then choose whether to have such child receive three doses of properly spaced human papillomavirus vaccine.”

However, the full Senate then voted to send the bill back to the committee until 2013.



  1. Egregious, totally egregious.. Children are the responsibility of the parent and the parent should have the final say. Clearly the Virginia delegates and senators that passed this were bought off by the pharmaceutical industry to do so. Experiment with your own daughters, leave mine out of the equation.

    • mother of daughter in va says:

      Dave, parents absolutely bear the responsibility and ultimately have the final say, The existing law allows parents to “opt out”.

    • kellcsmith says:

      Parents DO have the final say; there is an Opt-out clause.

  2. Roscoe Evans says:

    [redacted] your parental obligation is to keep your girl safe and healthy until she is old enough to handle that responsibility entirely on her own. Vaccines and other medical precautions of this sort give us the heeby jeebies because they obliquely remind us of the possibilities that our children will be prematurely, and prejudicially, affected by sex. Well, there are worse things in this world, and you’ve got to try to protect her against them, too. This vaccine may indeed be a life saver.

    I recall when my pediatrician suggested vaccinating Roscoe, Jr. against one of the hepatitis viruses, which also caused me to think about an immature child and sex. After I suppressed my gag reflex, the doc explained his rationale to me, and we went forward.

    And that’s the point. When you have children, you’re always moving forward. You cannot keep them as babies. You can only educate, protect, and love them.

  3. DAWN PRICE says:

    Ask your DR. how many virus’s this protects her from . i was told that there were about 3 that this helps with I just have a problem with how fast we have got to let our children grow up.. They have so mush more on their plate than i did as a child . And why do the boys not have to get it also if men can get the warts ??? Looks one sided to me but just my thoughts .

    • kellcsmith says:

      1. If the vaccination protects my daughter from ONE disease, I’m for it.

      2. I don’t follow your logic of “why do the boys not have to get it also if men can get the warts.” My understanding is that the HPV vaccination is, first and foremost, an inoculation against potential cervical cancer. Men don’t have cervixes. If the HPV vaccination protects against “warts,” which I did not know (perhaps it does), maybe “the boys” (or their parents) should be proactive about their health and voluntarily seek out the HPV inoculation (i.e., why wait for the “government” to tell you to do so).

      3. Why does the burden of protecting against sexually-transmitted or sexually-related diseases most often fall to females?

      • Roscoe Evans says:

        The vaccine protects against the virus, which can lead to cervical cancers in females, penile cancers in males, and other related cancers that I will leave unnamed. The warts are symptomatic of the virus.

        Increasingly, doctors are recommending that males get the vaccine, too. I’ve got Roscoe, Jr. on schedule for the vaccine.

    • dontaskme says:

      There is now also a link between oral cancers and the HPV virus. So yet another reason to consider vaccinating.

  4. kellcsmith says:

    Dave M,

    Trust me,

    1. The pharmaceutical companies are probably more interested in the profits they may reap if your daughter gets cervical cancer in the future than if she gets three HPV vaccination shots over the next 18 months.

    2. Ditto for health insurance companies.


    This vaccine is scary. Too many deaths linked to it. My daughter did not receive it and will not get it.

    • Actually, if you read the article, the 71 deaths mentioned were people who had received the shot, and had not been linked in any way to the actual vaccine. After 40 million doses, 71 people had died (from potentially unrelated causes). The cause of death could have been drowning, getting hit by a car, or heroin OD. Anything. That actually seems below average to me. It’s unclear from that CDC factsheet whether or not the 40 million doses should be divided by three (as from my understanding you receive 3 doses). The reporting of death also seems a little sketchy, which national medical recording can be. The point still stands though, men and women aged 10-25 will die, and it’s naive to attribute those deaths to a vaccination without foundation.

  6. Deanna Jackson says:

    To be fair to all concerned. Before doing anything that the medical profession suggest’s or insists upon “do research first, check all the ingredients, ask questions, and then if you feel confident enough to do so, then proceed. Ver similar to a second opinion! You will be thoroughly surprised with your results. Well worth the time and effort for the safety of you and your family members.

  7. Another View says:

    The default option should be “opt out”. That is, if a parent wishes to vaccinate their children, fine. But the state should not require the parent to act in order to “opt out”. It is not the state’s concern.

    • It IS the state’s concern when something like this can be easily mitigated. Are you against all of the other required-by-law-to-enroll-in-school vaccines?

      • Another View says:

        It most certainly is not the state’s concern. The state should not be involved in mandating any medicines or care; arguably, however, where the vaccine is to prevent easily communicable diseases on a broad spectrum, such as whooping cough, chicken pox, measles, etc., a case can be made for state mandates where the child might enter the public schools.

        This, however, is not such a case. The state should butt out. Our children do not belong to the state, and we are not subjects to be ordered around.

  8. Another View says:

    I would ask all those who support a state mandate for this vaccination; does the state love your daughters more than you do? Does the state know better than you do to care for your daughter?

    And if the state does love more and know better how to care for your daughters, have you given them up to the state for adoption? If not, why not?