HPV Vaccination Mandatory for Texas School Girls

Some parents in Amarillo are wrestling with the idea of their daughters getting vaccinated for a sexually transmitted virus at the tender age of 11.    

Today Governor Rick Perry ordered that all Texas school girls std receive the shots for the Human Papilloma Virus, which causes cervical cancer.

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg met with one mother who doesn't think the vaccination promotes sexual activity, she's concerned for other reaons.

If it prevents cancer mom's like April Babiash are for it. But she wants to know the ins and outs of the vaccine, before her daughter gets the shot.  

"I've seen the commercials on TV but I felt like it hasn't been out there long enough to really make it something we have to do, I was surprised, I am surprised," says Babiash.

Babiash's daughter Claire is 10 years old, and already has her mind made up about the vaccine.
"I'm afraid of shots," Claire says.

Girls like Claire will be given the shot starting in the fall of 2008... And the young age is key for it to be effective.

"It's important it be given at a younger age, only offered up to 26 assuming girls wait to become sexually active. But it's very important before the onset on sexual activity," says Claudia Stravato of Planned Parenthood.

Babiash says she has a lot to learn about Guardasil, Merck's new vaccine that protects girls from H.P.V., and cervical cancer, which kills 4,000 American women every year.

"It's cheaper to prevent cancer that to treat cancer, it's a big step forward it's ultimately going to have one of the biggest public health impacts that we've seen in our country," says Stravato.

Stravato says she's impressed Texas is the first state to take this action.

"I think it's the quickest response to an identifiable treatable disease that I've seen in my lifetime," says Stravato.

Parents may opt out of the mandatory vaccinations for reasons like religious beliefs.