CDC committee recommends HPV vaccine for girls age 11-12… but the battle’s not over

Contributed by Madeline Halperin-Robinson
This afternoon the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted to recommend routine vaccination against HPV for girls age 11-12. The committee’s recommendations are non-binding – it is now up to each state to decide whether or not to put these recommendations into practice and make the vaccine mandatory for all 11-12 year olds before they enter school.
But more hurdles to access must be cleared before we can declare victory over the STI that can cause cervical cancer. Typically, the committee’s recommendations are adopted by each state and used as a guide for government and private insurers to decide whether or not to cover the vaccine. But we are not living in typical times. Feministing has already reported about the far right’s opposition to making the vaccine available to poor women and girls, and they may still succeed.
The ACIP committee’s recommendations are great news for rational people who believe science should trump political ideology. All but two states allow religious exceptions to mandatory vaccines, and many states allow exemptions for philosophical reasons– so fundamentalists will be able to say no to the vaccine for their own daughters. But that’s not enough for the religious right. They want to foist their religious beliefs on all young girls. We may see individual states bow to these pressures and make the unprecedented move to go against the ACIP recommendations. This would derail efforts to make the vaccine available to all by weakening the incentive for insurance companies to cover the cost of the vaccine.
Full disclosure: Madeline researches this issue as part of her job with the Sexuality and Family Rights program at Legal Momentum.

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9 Comments

  1. leederick
    Posted June 29, 2006 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised this post doesn’t come with an apology to Dr. Finger. You’ve consistently protrayed him as a puppet of the relgious right put on the committee to vote down the vaccine for ideological reasons. Didn’t happen, did it. Perhaps because that was just disinformation.

  2. Posted June 29, 2006 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    An apology will be warranted when Dr. Finger actually comes out with statements in favor of it.
    Merely not harming one’s own credibility by being the only one in opposition isn’t exactly evidence of good intent.
    As it stands, he has not yet to my knowledge renounced his previous positions.

  3. pbfared
    Posted June 29, 2006 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    No, his own comments & his association with the FRC ::spit:: make him an object of concern. Given their (FRC) history, there is no reason to trust their concern for anything but their own agenda. The minutes will be interesting to see. He was one guy on a 15 person panel – not a power position from which to play the fool.

  4. Ann
    Posted June 29, 2006 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    >>>I’m surprised this post doesn’t come with an apology to Dr. Finger. You’ve consistently protrayed him as a puppet of the relgious right put on the committee to vote down the vaccine for ideological reasons. Didn’t happen, did it. Perhaps because that was just disinformation.
    We never said he was put on the commmittee specifically to vote down this vaccine. We just expressed concern that a member of an important CDC committee has deep ties to a right-wing extremist group.
    Finger is a “liaison” between the CDC and Focus on the Family. That isn’t disinformation. It’s a fact.

  5. Posted June 30, 2006 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Does that mean that Focus on the Family got Finger-f… Uh, never mind.
    Cheers,
    TH

  6. the_becca
    Posted July 1, 2006 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Is this vaccine available right now to women who want it? I am ALL ABOUT the HPV vaccine, let me tell you. And they’d better make it required for kids, it would just be stupid not to.

  7. Posted July 1, 2006 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    It would be stupid not to. But it was also stupid to stonewall FDA approval of the HPV vaccine just to make HPV-based abstinence arguments stick a little longer. Hell, the whole “pro-life” platform is based on stupidity: Ban birth control, ban emergency contraception, ban abortion, and then use guaranteed pregnancy or death by STD as a way of discouraging people from having sex.
    These people believe that God is micromanaging their lives, that they are channeling his will in the world, and that they are the means by which sinners will realize on Earth a little of the Hell they believe God has planned for them in the world to come.
    They are, quite literally, out of their damn minds.
    Cheers,
    TH

  8. kristin jane
    Posted August 28, 2006 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    As an HPV survivor, ha, I’m stoked. This excitement is however tainted with the fear that all of these successes will be swept away in the wave of religious conservativism that seems destined to drown us all. Or maybe I’m being pessimistic… On a lighter note, cheers right back to you TH, I love a little anti-religion rant in the morning.

  9. dantt
    Posted August 30, 2006 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    I am very interesting in HPV vaccine, does anybody knows a good website that can give me the latest info about this vaccine from the scientific point of view, the legal point of view, etc. Also did CDC recommended that the vaccine be mandatory or was it just a recomendation that the vaccine be given to whoever wants this vaccine (of course as long as they match the appropiate age)
    thanks so much

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