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Published: Friday, 12/15/2006

Michigan House drops cervical cancer shots

Legislation that would have made Michigan the first state to mandate a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer has died in the House.

The state Legislature ended its 2005-06 session early this morning without acting on the bill first proposed by outgoing Sen. Bev Hammerstrom, (R., Temperance). The Senate had passed a version of the bill in September.

The legislation would have required sixth-grade girls to be immunized against the four forms of Human Papalloma Virus most often associated with cervical cancer through a series of three shots. Parents would have been able to opt-out of the vaccine under the proposed legislation.

The vaccine, approved by the federal Food & Drug Administration, is recommended for youngsters before they become sexually active but can be administered between the ages of 9 and 26.

Some legislators objected to the vaccine s unknown effects long-term, and others expressed concern that approval would send a signal that under-age sex is OK.

Cervical cancer kills some 3,700 women in the U.S. each year, and nearly a quarter-million worldwide.

In Ohio, State Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) this week introduced similar legislation that would require all sixth-grade girls in Ohio be vaccinated against cervical cancer. The measure likewise contains a provision that allows parents to choose their children opt out of the program.

Read more later in The Blade and online at toledoblade.com.

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