Homeland Security Department has mandated that new female
immigrants age 11 to 26 get Gardasil the HPV vaccine to prevent their cervical
cancer, news media reported.
The decision won support from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, but sparked an outcry from advocates over the safety
"It's outrageous," Sara Sadhwani, project
director for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles was quoted
as saying. "It seems absolutely premature to mandate this for immigrant
The new rule became effective Aug 1 and is estimated to
affect more than 130,000 immigrants a year.
The vaccine is indicated to prevent cervical cancer.
Its manufacturer Merck has lobbied states to
ask young girls age 11 to 12 to get the vaccine or they are not allowed to
enter their school classroom.
Opponents said this mandate for school girls to get the
HPV vaccine in effect deprives a person's right to medical decision and
maintained that people should have a right to making their own decision.
Many cases of cervical cancer are caused by some strains
of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
Medical scientists from Harvard University
have published a report early saying that massive vaccination against cervical
cancer is not as cost-effective as thought.
The HPV vaccine has been found to reduce chances of
cervical precancerous lesions, but it does not seem to reduce the transmission
of the virus.
There are cases in which
women received the vaccine, but still got HPV through their sexual contact.
The virus can be cleared up in 2 years in
most men and women.
Cervical cancer is rare and kills an estimated 4,000
women each year in the United States. The HPV vaccine costs about $360. Merck earns nearly 2 billions in sales each year from this vaccine.
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