New bill could soon make it mandatory for students to get HPV vaccine

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez of Miami introduced Senate Bill 1558 to the Florida legislature this month. It would make it mandatory for public school students to get vaccinated for HPV.

The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends the vaccine to prevent against infections that can cause a range of cancers.

"The CDC, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology both recommend children, both males and females from ages 9 to 26 to have the vaccine, with that target age being 11 and 12 years old," Healthpoint Medical Group Physician Assistant Shannon Johnson said.

However some local health officials say it doesn't ensure the overall prevention of cancer, as that can be caused by other factors.

"Just because you get the vaccine doesn't mean you're not down the road going to get cervical cancer," Healthpoint Medical Group Nurse Practitioner Crystal McVay said.

The vaccine is also said to have potential adverse effects.

"There have been reported cases of death, Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS [Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis], other neuralgic deficits that have been reported from the vaccine, therefore, making this mandatory for our school-aged children I don't think is necessary," McVay said.

With the amount of positive HPV results on the rise, Physician Assistant Shannon Johnson says she still recommends it.

"We're seeing an increase in positive HPV detection on pap smears as well as an increase in cervical cancer... If we have a way to prevent it, I think it should be seriously considered," Johnson said.

If passed, the bill would be called the "Women's Cancer Prevention Act" and take effect on July 1st.

The mandate would add the HPV vaccine to a list of already mandatory immunizations, such as measles mumps and rubella.