This news from the Associated Press: Republican Governor Rick Perry in Texas bypassed the legislature completely, and issued an executive order mandating vaccination against HPV of schoolgirls entering the sixth grade (girls usually aged 11 and 12) in September 2008. The vaccine, Gardasil, is manufactured by Merck.
Obviously, the governor intended to avoid opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and also to sidetrack parents’ rights groups who argue that requiring the HPV vaccine would send a message to children that premarital sex is OK and would interfere with a parent’s right to make important medical decisions for his or her child.
The governor’s executive order also mandated free distribution of the vaccine to girls 9 to 18 who do not have health insurance coverage. The vaccine costs about $360 for a three-shot regimen. Additionally, he ordered that Gardasil be made available to women ages 19 to 21 who are covered by Medicaid.
Critics are quick to point out that Merck is committing monies to lobby among state legislators to stimulate enactment of legislation that would make the vaccination mandatory just like vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella. These critics claim that such mandatory vaccination could create billions of dollars in sales for Merck.
What’s important about the governor’s executive order is his making this a health, safety, and welfare issue rather than a moral issue. I’ve earlier written on this controversial issue of mandatory Gardasil vaccination in this Blog.
You may read the entire AP article “Texas Governor Orders Anti-Cancer Vaccine.”
Another link to the article published in The Guardian should the article linked above go to archives.
See also this article in Time Magazine; it references failed efforts in the Michigan Legislature to make vacinnation mandatory.