Dr. Abramson said he opposes mandating Gardasil, which prevents the cervical-cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV), because the sexually transmitted HPV is not a contagious disease like measles and he is not sure states can afford to inoculate all students. “The vaccines out there now are for very communicable diseases. A child in school is not at an increased risk for HPV like he is measles,” Dr. Abramson said.
In addition, Dr. Abramson said a discussion about making the vaccine mandatory should not be had until states show the money is available to vaccinate every child, adding, “I don’t see that yet.”
Taken in a series of three shots at $120 each, Gardasil is the most expensive vaccine on the market. About 45 percent of children would be eligible for free vaccines from the federal Vaccinations for Children program, while the other 55 percent would depend on the state programs and insurance companies.
The ACIP, a 15-member panel charged with developing vaccine schedules and dosages, recommended Gardasil for 11- and 12-year-olds in July, spurring Merck’s lobbying efforts and the legislative push to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for sixth-grade girls.
Merck suspended its lobbying efforts last week amid criticism from parents, who said it would interfere with control over their children, and from conservative groups that said it would encourage premarital sex.