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J Law Med Ethics. 2008 Summer;36(2):384-95, 214. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2008.00282.x.

Assessing mandatory HPV vaccination: who should call the shots?

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  • 1Genetics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC, USA.


In 2007, many legislatures considered, and two enacted, bills mandating HPV vaccination for young girls as a condition of school attendance. Such mandates raise significant legal, ethical, and social concerns. This paper argues that mandating HPV vaccination for minor females is premature since long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has not been established, HPV does not pose imminent and significant risk of harm to others, a sex specific mandate raises constitutional concerns, and a mandate will burden financially existing government health programs and private physicians. Absent careful consideration and public conversation, HPV mandates may undermine coverage rates for other vaccines.

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