A bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature that would seek to vaccinate students at Florida public schools against the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. – human papillomavirus, or HPV.
SB 1558, also known as the “Women’s Cancer Prevention Act,” was introduced by Florida state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Democrat, and would require all students ages 11 and 12 to be immunized, no matter their gender. If approved, the bill would go into effect on July 1.
Around one in four people in the U.S. are currently infected with HPV. That amounts to about 80 million individuals, with about 14 million people being diagnosed with the virus every year – many of whom are teenagers.
Per year, approximately 31,000 cancers are diagnosed nationwide due to HPV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the vaccine could prevent about 28,000 of those cases from occurring.
At the moment, children attending public school in Florida are already required to have immunizations for tetanus, polio, mumps and rubella, among others. And as is the case for these required vaccinations, parents would be able to follow procedures to exempt their children from receiving the vaccine.
Similar laws have already been passed in states such as Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as Washington D.C.
However, with anti-vaccine movement
seemingly picking up momentum compared to recent years, it remains to be seen as to what sort of reaction the passage of such a bill would receive.
Take this headline
for example, published Tuesday on the fear-mongering website Natural News: "Proposed law would turn Florida into a vaccine police state."