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

of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Opponents, however, argue that the vaccine is expensive and that the infection can be prevented without vaccination.

Although the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics support universal HPV vaccination for girls ages 11 to 12, neither supports school entry mandates for HPV vaccine. Still, 24 states, including the District of Columbia, have introduced bills to mandate the vaccine, and Virginia in early 2007 passed a law requiring HPV vaccination for entry into junior high school. But are mandates for the HPV vaccine what parents really want for their children?

To answer that questions, and gain more insight into parental opinion about new vaccines, the National Poll on Childrens Health, in collaboration with Knowledge Networks, Inc., conducted a national online survey in March 2007. The survey was administered to a random sample of 2,076 adults, ages 18 and older, who are a part of Knowledge Networks online KnowledgePanelSM. The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect the U.S. population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. About two-thirds of the sample were parents.

Parents were asked if they would support a state law that requires girls to get the HPV vaccine before entering into ninth grade. They also were asked if they would support a state law that would require boys and girls to get the new booster vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, or Tdap, before entering ninth grade.

The survey found that 68 percent of parents support a mandate for the Tdap vaccine, while only 44 percent are in favor of a mandate for the vaccine to protect against HPV. The National Poll on Childrens Health also revealed that parents with children younger than 6 were more likely to support a mandate for the HPV vaccine than parents with children ages 6 to 12 or ages 13 to 17.

Most notably, 85 percent of parents su
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