HEALTH

Virginia House considers repeal of HPV vaccine

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The Virginia State Senate is considering repealing a law that requires pre-teen girls be vaccinated against the HPV virus.

The House of Delegates voted last week on a bill that would erase the current law that was passed in 2007.

Virginia is one of the only states in the nation that requires girls to get this vaccination for the human papillomavirus, or HPV, before they go to sixth grade.

HPV is spread by sexual contact. The vaccines intent is to fend off the virus that can cause cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both sexes.

Critics of the law say it takes away from parental rights.

"This really should be up to the family," said Alexandria resident George Ruth.

According to some Republicans, another argument to repeal the law is that the vaccine could promote promiscuity in young girls.

"I can't really say for a fact that they will be promiscuous, but if it can prevent and keep them healthy, I say pursue it," said Alexandria resident Melinda Buford.

The current law has what is considered a lenient opt out policy. After parents read the materials about the vaccine, they can then decide whether or not to have their daughter vaccinated.

"Why the legislature would decide this is something we should not fund is a mystery to me," said Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville).

Other Virginia voters are more troubled by the tug of war over the issue in the first place.

"They always seem to feel they're going to put out mandates and then all of a sudden somebody retracts them," said Alexandria resident Barbara Ruth. "How about they think before they act."

The vaccination law was passed five years ago at a time when the senate was in a Democratic majority. This legislative session, the state senate is a Republican controlled chamber.

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