Republican Del. Kathy Byron introduced a bill to end Virginia's requirement to notify parents about the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. The vaccine prevents cervical cancer and is recommended for girls entering 6th grade in Virginia. Virginia requires the state health department to notify parents that the vaccine is available; it is the only state to do so. Parents can opt out.
This week, the bill was approved by the House committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions; in past years, the bill has been approved by the House of Delegates and failed in the Senate.
Republican Del. Chris Stolle, a Virginia Beach gynecologist, voted against the bill; he said that 6.2 million women a year contract the virus nationally - of those, 10,000 develop cervical cancer, and 4,000 die. Stolle argued that the mandate "ensures that the vaccination will be provided by insurance companies and the state and by the health departments. By removing the mandate, all we're doing is not sending a letter."
The committee vote sends the bill to the full House; voting is anticipated for this Friday.
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