May 15, 2007
Texas governor backs off mandatory Gardasil vaccination effort: AP
Texas’ Republican Gov. Rick Perry has backed away from his efforts to require pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against the cervical cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) after the state legislature overturned his order. The February order would have made Texas the first US state to require that girls receive Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine so they can enroll in sixth grade, when most students are 11 or 12 years old. Social conservatives opposed the mandatory vaccination program, saying it would lead to sexual promiscuity. The Republican-majority Texas legislature passed a bill last month overturning the order by preventing the vaccination program for at least four years, the Associated Press reported. Perry said he would not veto the bill, meaning it will become law, according to the AP report. Perry said a veto was futile since the legislature would vote to override it. The governor blasted the legislature for its decision. “They have sent me a bill that ensures three-quarters of our young women will be susceptible to a virus that not only kills hundreds each year, but causes great discomfort and harm to thousands more,” Perry said.