Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2006
Tiffany Champion, Office of Senator Van de Putte, (210) 733-6604
Isaiah Warner, Office of Representative Farrar, (512) 463-0620

Senator Van de Putte and Representative Farrar File Legislation to Add the HPV Vaccine to the List of Immunizations Required for Sixth-Grade Girls to be Admitted to School

AUSTIN, TX -- On Tuesday, November 14, the second day of pre-filing for the 80th Legislative Session, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and State Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) filed legislation, Senate Bill 110 and House Bill 215, which will add the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to the state health department's list of required immunizations for sixth-grade girls to be admitted to school.

In June, the vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration allowing for vaccinations of girls and women. The vaccine can prevent disease from two types of HPV that are responsible for about 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

"If we can save the lives of our daughters, how can we not take steps to eradicating cervical cancer," stated Senator Van de Putte. "Mandates have proven to be one of the most effective ways to ensure our children are vaccinated; this legislation allows schools to help parents learn about the vaccine and its benefits."

The legislation which is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation that girls as young as 9 years old get the HPV vaccine. Similar to other vaccines required for school children, the bills contain a provision allowing parents to opt-out of the HPV vaccine requirement for medical, moral, or philosophical reasons.

"While respecting a parent's right to opt-out of certain immunizations for their children, as current law allows, we must make this life-saving vaccine available," stated Representative Farrar. "Fortunately, the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program will provide free vaccines to children and adolescents under 19 years of age, who are either uninsured or Medicaid-eligible."

There are over 45,000 sites in the United States that provide VFC vaccines, including hospital, private, and public clinics. The VFC Program also allows children and adolescents to receive VFC vaccines through Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers, if their private health insurance does not cover the vaccine.

For media-related inquiries, please contact Tiffany Champion with Senator Van de Putte at (210) 733-6604 or Isaiah Warner with Representative Farrar at (512) 463-0620.