Daily Women's Health Policy

State Politics & Policy | Actions Taken on HPV Vaccine Legislation in Colorado, South Carolina, Washington, D.C.

[Apr 23, 2007]

      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. 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, 3/22). GSK last month announced that it has filed for FDA approval of Cervarix (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 4/18). Summaries appear below.

  • Colorado: The House on Tuesday gave initial approval to a bill (HB 1301), sponsored by Rep. Bernie Buescher (D), that would require health insurers to cover HPV vaccines, the AP/cbs4denver.com reports (AP/cbs4denver.com, 4/18). The measure passed a third reading in the House on Thursday and now heads to the Senate (HB 1301 history, 4/20).

  • South Carolina: The House on Wednesday voted 108-0 to table a bill that would have required all girls entering seventh grade to receive an HPV vaccine starting in the 2009 school year, the Charleston Post and Courier reports (Wenger, Charleston Post and Courier, 4/19). Rep. Joan Brady (R), the bill's sponsor, requested that the bill be tabled after the House voted against two of her proposed amendments to the measure. The first amendment, which was rejected by a 56-48 vote, would have created a no-questions-asked rule for parents and guardians who choose to opt out of the program and also would have required the state to cover the cost of the vaccine for uninsured and underinsured girls if funding was allocated by the General Assembly. The second amendment, which was rejected by a 49-41 vote, would have required the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer the same opt-out rule if it decides to make the vaccine part of a statewide school vaccination program. The health department has begun reviewing the vaccine, but it could take three to five years to implement a school vaccine program, department spokesperson Adam Myrick said (Michals, Columbia State, 4/19).

  • Washington, D.C.: The City Council on Thursday voted 7-3 to approve a bill that would require girls entering the sixth grade to receive an HPV vaccine, the Washington Post reports (Steward, Washington Post, 4/20). The council earlier in the year preliminarily approved the bill. The legislation would require female students to show proof of vaccination before enrolling in the sixth grade in District of Columbia Public Schools, unless their parent or legal guardian chooses to "opt out" of the requirement. Girls would be able to opt out of the requirement for any reason. The legislation also would require a parent education program (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 4/5). After many parents objected to the bill, the council adopted amendments that postponed implementation of the program until fall 2009 (AP/NBC4, 4/20). Officials said they plan to launch a citywide education program to inform residents about HPV and the vaccine and to facilitate the program's opt-out process. The bill must be signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty and approved by Congress to become law (Washington Post, 4/20). Fenty has given an initial endorsement of the measure (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 4/5).