Mandatory HPV Vaccinations

Trisha Dea

Mandatory HPV Vaccinations

The Virginia Legislature has passed a law that makes the HPV vaccine mandatory for sixth grade and older girls to attend school (1). The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer in females (5). The law was passed last year to begin on October 1, 2008 (1). Only a year after the law was passed the Virginia lawmakers are reconsidering it, but the administration opposes the delay (1). The laws being passed that would force young girls to be mandatorily vaccinated against HPV should be reconsidered because people have autonomy over their bodies, parents have the right to decide what happens to their children, and it is sexist to only make it mandatory for girls.
Every human has autonomy over their own bodies. To make something mandatory takes away the right to make those decisions. So to make the HPV vaccine mandatory takes away the autonomy that the girls’ have. Plus, the overall outcome of HPV types that cause cervical cancer are not very high, and the long terms effects of the vaccine are unknown. Therefore, it’s not right to make a sixth grade girl, who has a low lifetime risk of getting cervical cancer, to be mandatorily vaccinated without her say or at least the consent of her parents (2). Mandatory vaccinations take away the right that a girl has to decide what is put into her body.
Making vaccinations mandatory also takes away the right that parents have to decide what they want for their children. Mandatory vaccines violate the requirement for parental consent in medicine and patient autonomy (4). Making the vaccinations mandatory in schools makes it easier to insure that the virus is more contained, but the question that remains is; does achieving a higher level of coverage justify taking away parental autonomy (4)? Some parents have realized this and refuse to follow the court orders to vaccinate their children. In some states the parents are being forced to go to court and have their children vaccinated on the spot or face imprisonment. If vaccines are made mandatory and the parents refuse they could be detained for practicing their right to choose what is done to their children. So, it is unjust and wrong to make the HPV vaccine mandatory, because it takes the right of the parents to decide what is best for their girls.
The HPV vaccinations are only becoming mandatory for females, but females are not the only sex that can be infected with the human papillomavirus (5). Males can have just as much of a chance to get the HPV infection as women. They also have the same chances of transmitting the infection to their partners (2). The human papillomavirus is passed to men and women in the same way. It is passed through vaginal and anal sex. Some types of human papillomavirus have been shown to cause anal cancer and penis cancer in men. Cancer of the penis is rare, but anal cancer is very common in both women and men who have anal sex (3). Making the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls only is sexist, because both men and women have just the same odds of getting the virus.
Laws that promote mandatory vaccinations should not be allowed to pass. Making the HPV vaccine mandatory is against the autonomy of young girls. They also go against parental rights to decide what happens to their children. To only require it for girls is sexist, because men have just as much of a chance to be infected as women.

References

1. Richmond. “Delay for HPV vaccinations is considered.” The Roanoke Times. January. 2008.
<http://www.roanoke.com/politics/wb/147239>
2. Gostin, Lawrence O., JD, LLD; DeAngelis, Catherine D., MD, MPH. “Mandatory HPV Vaccination: Public Health vs. Private Wealth.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. May. 2007. 297 pp.
< http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/17/1921>.
3. American Cancer Society. “Frequently Asked Questions about Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines.” Apr. 2007.
<http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6x_FAQ_HPV_Vaccines.asp>.
4. The Center of Health and Health Care in Schools. “HPV Vaccination: Should States Make It Compulsory?” The Center of Health and Health Care in Schools. June. 2006.
<http://www.healthinschools.org/News-Room/EJournals/Volume-7/Number-10/HPV-Vaccination_Should-States-Make-It-Compulsory.aspx>.
5. US Department of Health and Human Services. “HPV (human papillomavirus)”. FDA Office of Women’s Health. June. 2006.
< http://www.fda.gov/WOMENS/getthefacts/hpv.html>

Thesis:18/20 Organization: 15/20 Evidence: 18/20 Clarity of writing: 14/20 Style: 16/20

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