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Cervical Cancer Shot May Be Standard In 6th Grade
POSTED: 5:20 pm EDT September 12, 2006
A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers wants all sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against cervical cancer.
A Republican state senator who is the lead sponsor said it's the first legislation of its kind in the U.S.
The vaccine was approved by federal regulators this summer and hailed as a breakthrough in cancer prevention. The shots prevent infections from strains of a sexually transmitted virus -- human papilloma virus, or HPV -- that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
At the time, conservatives expressed concern that schools would require the vaccine for enrollment. They argue that such mandates infringe on parents' rights and send a message that underage sex is OK.
If approved, the measure would go into effect for the next school year.
The vaccine was approved for females between ages 9 and 26. In studies, it was credited with preventing disease from the two types of HPV that are responsible for approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancers, according to Detroit television station WDIV.
The legislator who proposed the requirement noted that, as with all other school-required vaccines, parents may opt out of this requirement for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
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