As grandparents and parents, many of us were never exposed to the HPV vaccine that is required for Virginia girls. The vaccine is required as a way to fight against sexually transmitted disease for 11 and 12-year old’s and has been mandated since 2008.
Now, the law is up for debate and questions are being raised.
There is a bill circulating that may have the mandatory vaccination law removed. The bill is sponsored by delegate Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg. She believes this is an example of government intrusion into the lives of private families. She also cites concerns about the unknown effectiveness and long-term safety of the vaccine. But are these concerns justified?
The main concern from bill supporters is that it does not allow parents the freedom to make decisions for their own children (although they can opt-out). They also worry that there is a division in the medical community about whether or not the HPV vaccine is safe and effective, which causes lots of confusion.
It appears that Virginia is the only state that currently mandates the vaccine. However, parents do have the right to opt-out of the vaccination program.
Concerns and dilemmas
Many argue that the vaccination promotes promiscuity and allows young girls to feel safe having sex at an early age.
Medical proponents of the vaccine remind parents that the HPV vaccine can also prevent up to 70% of cervical cancers so that goes in the plus column for the vaccine.
It’s an interesting and confusing dilemma for parents and one that requires some thought and evaluation. If you have young girls who are nearing the age when the vaccine is being offered, you should make an informed choice about whether or not it’s right for your child or grandchild.
We’d like to know what you think about the HPV vaccine. As Richmondmoms and RichmondGRANDmoms, your opinion matters and may help others who are grappling with what to do. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
And always, make decisions that are best for your child’s individual situation.