By Linda Borg - Providence Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rep. Justin Price, R-Exeter, is asking the Rhode Island Department of Health to rescind its mandatory requirement that all students, beginning in the 7th grade, receive the HPV vaccination.
The Department of Health recently added the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine to its list of mandatory vaccinations for school age children beginning in the 7th grade.
“To be clear, I do believe vaccine technology is valid,” Price said. “I am singling out this particular requirement for a variety of reasons. Many of my constituents have expressed their concern that the decision to have their children vaccinated should be one that the state should not make for them.
“Excluding children from school for refusal to be vaccinated against a disease spread only by sexual activity is a serious precedent-setting action that trespasses on the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children as well as on the rights of the children to attend school,” he said.
Parents can exempt their children from this vaccine for religious or pre-existing medical reasons. Texas provides an opt-out process to their once mandatory HPV vaccine, Price said.
Representative Price said that Denmark, Japan, France, Spain and Colombia are among those reviewing the efficacy and risks of the HPV vaccines. According to Price, Japan stopped mandatory HPV vaccines and legislators in France called for multiple actions to ensure the future health of their constituents.
Price said the current exemption certificate should be replaced with an exemption affidavit that includes full disclosure of the benefits and risks of this vaccine so that parents have all of the necessary information.