Florida bill could mandate HPV vaccination for public school students

- A bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature that would make it mandatory for public school students to get vaccinated for the common virus, human papillomavirus. 

Currently, only Virginia, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. require the vaccination, but the bill, SB 1558: School Health Immunizations, or the “Women’s Cancer Prevention Act,” would require the HPV shot for public school attendance. All children, both boy and girl, between the ages of 11 and 12 would need to receive the vaccination. 

Florida public school students are already required to receive vaccinations for tetanus, mumps, polio, and other diseases. 

The concern is cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year related to HPV complications. HPV is a virus that can cause cancer for both males and females, and is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, most commonly through sexual contact.

The HPV vaccine first became available in 2006. In 2011, a Florida bill was introduced to require the Department of Health to add HPV as a recommended immunization, and require schools to provide the vaccine, but that bill did not pass. Some public health experts believe mandating HPV vaccination in the “early years” could be too soon, the CDC reports.

The bill states there would be procedures to exempt a child from receiving the vaccination. 

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