About that HPV vaccine...

Will the millions of girls who need it actually get it?

Published June 9, 2006 5:38PM (EDT)

The good news, as we reported yesterday, is that the FDA has approved a vaccine for HPV. Yet, as Feministing notes, the FDA approval is just the first step in getting girls vaccinated against the STD that impacts 80 percent of American women by age 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The next step: in a few weeks the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will issue recommendations for how the vaccine should be administered. "While the ACIP decisions are non-binding, its recommendations set the standard by which states decide if they will mandate vaccination, insurance companies choose to cover the cost, and doctors decide how to advise their patients," writes Feministing.

Unfortunately, we already know what one member of the 15-person ACIP panel thinks about the vaccine. Dr. Reginald Finger, who is tightly linked to Focus on the Family, has already stated his opposition to making the vaccine routinely available to girls, fearing it will undermine abstinence-only sex ed.

The committee meets on June 29th, so there's still time to influence the other 14 members of the committee. (Yes, Dr. Finger sounds like a lost cause.) It's not worth exposing millions of girls and women to the risk of cervical cancer to preserve the religious-right's fantasy that abstinence-only sex ed can stop the spread of HPV. Tell the committee to do everything they can to spread this vaccine by writing to:

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road, NE MS E-05

Atlanta, Georgia 30333

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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