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Commentary
October 19, 2011

Mandatory HPV Vaccination and Political Debate

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2011;306(15):1699-1700. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1525

Vaccinations are among the most cost-effective and widely used public health interventions but have provoked popular resistance, with compulsory vaccination framed as an unwarranted state interference. When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in 2006, conservative religious groups strongly opposed a mandate, arguing it would condone premarital sex and undermine parental rights. Yet Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order in 2007 making Texas the first state to enact a mandate—later revoked by the state legislature.

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