Action on Virginia GARDASIL "Opt-Out" Mandate
by Barbara Loe Fisher
Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has introduced a bill in the Virginia state legislature which would repeal a law passed by the General Assembly last year requiring sixth grade girls to get three doses of HPV vaccine (HB 89) by October 2008. Governor Kane has indicated he will not support a repeal of the mandate. Delegate Marshall has also authored a bill to delay the HPV vaccine mandate implementation until 2011 (HB 188).
The health subcommittee of the Virginia House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee will hear HB 89 and HB 188 this afternoon (Monday, Jan. 14). It is a possibility that the full Committee might hear the bills at a later date if they are not passed out of subcommittee.
If you are a Virginia resident and would like to contact health subcommittee members (all of whom sit on the full Committee) and make your views known, following is contact information for committee members:
Chairman, Delegate John O'Bannon
Delegate Jeff Frederick
Delegate David Nutter
Delegate Chris Peace
Delegate Ward Armstrong
Delegate Algie Howell
Delegate Lionell Spruill
Virginia state Senator Ken Cuccinelli is working on similar legislation in the state Senate and it is important that the Senate legislation be compatible with HB 89 and HB 188. You can contact Senator Cuccinelli's office at:
Virginia Governor Tim Kane signed the HPV vaccine mandate into law last year after it was revised to include an "opt-out" provision that did not require parents to claim medical or religious reasons for the "opt-out." Merck's GARDASIL vaccine is the only HPV vaccine on the market and Merck lobbied aggressively in Texas, California, New York and more than 20 states in early 2007 to push through HPV vaccine mandates. Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) issued an Executive Order in early 2007 to try to force GARDASIL to be given to sixth graders in Texas but the Texas legislature rebelled and later passed legislation over- riding the Executive Order.
Virginia and New Jersey were the only two states to vote for an HPV vaccine mandate for pre-adolescent girls and both states modified the mandate to include an "opt-out" provision.
Merck's GARDASIL has been associated with collapse episodes, seizures, Guillain Barre syndrome and other serious health problems among young girls and women since the vaccine was licensed in mid-2006. During 2007, the National Vaccine Information Center published three analyses of GARDASIL adverse events being reported to VAERS, which indicated that GARDASIL is far more reactive than methodologically flawed pre- licensure clinical trials revealed.
A quick review of GARDASIL adverse health outcomes, which Virginia girls and young women aged 5 to 26 suffered and were reported to VAERS, revealed reports of loss of consciousness, seizures/convulsions, head injuries and fractures, joint swelling, blood disorders (ITP), abnormal cervical smears, spontaneous abortions, and medical errors (5 year old given wrong vaccine). The VAERS reports also included events labeled as life threatening or causing disability.
The NVIC staff continues to receive reports from parents of young girls, as well as young adult women, living in many different states that indicate GARDASIL is causing atypical fainting/sudden collapse within several hours of vaccination, as well as other neurological events. Many of these health problems following GARDASIL are being written off as "coincidental" by nurses and physicians without any evidence the health problem would have occurred if the vaccine had not been administered.