The following highlights recent state news related to human papillomavirus vaccines. Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's HPV vaccine Cervarix in clinical trials have been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases.
FDA in July 2006 approved Gardasil for sale and marketing to girls and women ages nine to 26, and CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later that month voted unanimously to recommend that girls ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine.
GSK in April plans to file for FDA approval of Cervarix, and it expects approval by the end of this year. CDC has added Gardasil to its Vaccines for Children Program, which provides no-cost immunizations to children ages nine to 18 covered by Medicaid, Alaska Native and American Indian children, and some uninsured and underinsured children (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 3/15). Summaries appear below.
- Florida: House K-12 Committee Chair Anitere Flores (R) on Tuesday prevented a vote on a bill (HB 561) that would require girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against HPV, the Miami Herald reports. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Ed Homan (R), would require schools to send HPV vaccine information home with children beginning in fall 2009. In addition, it would require students beginning in fall 2011 to show proof of vaccination or a signed waiver from their parents opting them out of requirement. Flores on Tuesday proposed an amendment to the measure that would have dropped the vaccination requirement and require the information to be sent out beginning in the 2007-2008 school year (Klas, Miami Herald, 3/21). Flores' proposal failed by a 4-4 vote (Royse, AP/Orlando Sentinel, 3/21). According to the Herald, Flores' action to prevent a vote on the bill essentially will prevent its passage because Tuesday was the last committee vote of the year. Flores said she will ask House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) to allow the committee to meet once more but added that she has not decided whether to put the HPV vaccine legislation on the agenda. A similar measure (SB 660), sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano (R), is scheduled to be debated in a hearing later this week (Miami Herald, 3/21). Fasano's measure would require 11- and 12-year-old girl to be vaccinated against HPV beginning in the 2009-2010 school year (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/22).
- Georgia: A bill (SB 155) that would require all girls to receive an HPV vaccine before entering the sixth grade will not be placed on the calendar for a full Senate debate this session, Sen. Don Balfour (R), the bill's sponsor said Thursday, the Macon Telegraph reports (Fain, Macon Telegraph, 3/16). The bill, which was introduced in February, allows parents or guardians with religious objections to opt their child out of the vaccine if they provide school officials with an affidavit -- as is required to be exempt from other immunizations. The measure also allows an exemption for parents or guardians who cannot afford the vaccination. The state Department of Human Resources has requested $4.3 million in next year's budget plan to pay for more than 42,000 doses of HPV vaccine for underinsured families (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/22). Balfour said the bill could re-emerge next year (Macon Telegraph, 3/16).
- North Carolina: The Senate on Monday voted 47-0 to tentatively approve a bill (SB 260) that would require schools to provide information to parents and guardians about HPV vaccines, the AP/Hendersonville News reports (AP/Hendersonville News, 3/19). The chamber on Tuesday voted 48-0 to give final approval to the measure (SB 260 history, 3/21). Under the bill, filed by Sen. Katie Dorsett (D), information about the vaccine would be made available at the beginning of the school year for public school children enrolled in grades five through 12. The information includes the benefits and possible side effects of the vaccine, but it does not discuss whether girls should receive an HPV vaccine. The bill also requires state officials to provide the materials to private schools and home schools (AP/Hendersonville News, 3/19).
- South Dakota: Gov. Mike Rounds (R) has signed into law a bill (HB 1061) that would authorize $9.2 million in funding to provide HPV vaccines at no cost to females ages 11 to 18, the AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports (Kafka, AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 3/19). The Senate last month voted 33-2 to approve the measure. Rounds in January announced the voluntary program, and Health Secretary Doneen Hollingsworth said that it likely will focus on girls ages 11 and 12 in future years (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 3/1). The legislation contained emergency language that made it law immediately. Most bills approved for this year become law July 1 (AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 3/19).