DC Council legislation calls for mandatory HPV vaccination for schoolgirls

The District of Columbia Council voted 7 to 3 in favor of approving legislation that calls for young girls to be immunized against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, The Washington Post reported. DC officials said they would launch an aggressive education campaign to inform the public about the vaccine and make it easy for parents to opt out for any reason. Under the legislation, when school begins in 2009, girls entering sixth grade must prove they have been vaccinated against HPV, unless their parents or guardians excuse them. If the legislation is signed and approved by Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty and approved by Congress, it would be similar to legislation adopted in Virginia earlier this month, according to The Washington Post report. Merck currently markets Gardasil, the only approved HPV vaccine. Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline filed for FDA approval for its HPV vaccine Cervarix earlier this month.

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