N.H. finds voluntary vaccination works

May 13, 2007

New Hampshire says it has a winning formula for getting teenage girls vaccinated against a virus linked to cervical cancer -- make the shot voluntary.

The state is supplying the vaccine against the human papilloma virus free to girls ages 11 to 18. As a result, many doctors have waiting lists for the vaccine, The New York Times reported.

While Virginia is the only state that requires vaccination, with an opt-out for parents, many states have considered laws that would make it mandatory. The vaccine, marketed as Gardasil, is controversial, with some critics saying that protecting women from a sexually transmitted disease encourages promiscuity and others doubtful about long-term effects.

"I suspect that we're not seeing a significant controversy because there was a never a discussion about whether to make this mandatory," Greg Moore, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Health and Human Services Department, told the Times.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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