At the request of poster Jill, I will delve slightly into this contentious issue. Should girls be vaccinated for human papalloma virus (HPV) to protect them against cervical cancer, now heavily linked to HPV infection earlier in life? The catch is that HPV is now known to be a sexually-transmitted disease. So, should girls be vaccinated at the age of 11 or 12, prior to when some girls become sexually transmitted? Those against argue that the government has no business apparently condoning sexual activity in young girls, and the vaccine may prompt some girls to become sexually active earlier in life because they think they are protected from getting sick (HIV, and assorted other diseases, plus preganancy are still out there …). Those in favor of the bill state that protecting the girls is paramount and no different than requiring any other vaccination. This debate is now taking place in the Maryland legislature, where nearly half of the Senate has sponsored a bill requiring vaccination of middle school-age girls.

OK – I am a fairly conservative Republican, scientist (virologist) politician, mother and wife. So – here is where I weigh in. We will have our own daughter vaccinated and I see no reason not to include the vaccinations in the normal vaccine requirements. We have no control over what choices our daughters will make when they are out of our presence or even when they become adults. They could be raped, date raped or otherwise. It is a communicable disease and the government does have the authority to protect the health of society as a whole.

My problem with the bill is that it also does not include boys. Men also get papilloma virus, which is how the girls catch it and men can also get penile and other cancers from HPV as well. The vaccinations of boys would also help to eliminate the source of the virus from more of the population. I don’t know what the position of the FDA is on vaccinating boys, however.

The Washington Post has an article here, Fox News here.