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Most Parents in U.S. Not in Favor of HPV Vaccine Mandates

While debate in several state governments continues to grow over school mandates for Gardasil a vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for girls ages 11 to 12 that is designed to provide protection against human papillomavirus, or HPV, the virus linked to cervical cancer and genital warts the majority of U.S. parents have already reached a decision on the issue: They do not want the vaccine to be mandated.

According to a new report released today by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Childrens Hospital National Poll on Childrens Health, only 44 percent of parents are in favor of a school mandate for the HPV vaccine. The report also reveals that parents with children older than 6 are less likely to support a HPV vaccine mandate.

We found that a minority of U.S. parents are in favor of an HPV vaccine mandate for school entry, and that more than one-quarter of parents unequivocally disagree with HPV vaccine mandates, says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Poll on Childrens Health, part of the U-M Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit in the U-M Division of General Pediatrics.

While state mandates that require certain vaccinations upon school entry have provided an effective means to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as mumps, measles, polio, whooping cough and chicken pox, they have become increasingly controversial and the HPV vaccine, which also is licensed for females ages 13 to 26 and girls as young as 9, is no exception.

In the case of the HPV vaccine, proponents of the mandates argue that states should encourage parents to prevent their daughters from getting cervical cancer caused by HPV infection, which is spread through sexual contact, says Davis, associate professor of general pediatrics and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School, and associate professor
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