Gardasil or other HPV vaccination will no longer be a requirement for immigrant girls and women seeking a green card, according to the Associated Press (AP). Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that all immigrants filing for a green card must receive a variety of shots; the HPV vaccine is currently among those required.
Effective December 14, the HPV vaccination will not be required, said the AP, in an effort to not single out immigrants. The requirement to receive at least the first dose of the HPV vaccine, which is administered in three doses, was implemented by the CDC for female immigrants between the ages of 11 and 26 in July 2008.
“More than half of the immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking opportunity are women,” said Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, in a statement, quoted the AP. “We thank the CDC for restoring their dignity and reproductive justice.”
There are currently two HPV vaccines approved for use in the U.S. Gardasil prevents four strains of HPV, two of which cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. The other two HPV strains are responsible for about 90 percent of genital warts. Cervarix, approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just last month, protects against two strains of HPV that cause more than 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer in women.
HPV is the most widespread of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.; however, a small percentage of people infected with HPV will develop cervical cancer and other dangerous diseases, citing the AP. Also, cost efficacy has long been an issue with the Gardasil vaccine, said the AP. The shots run about $400-to-$1000 and insurers do not cover such health services for immigrants, said the AP.
The CDC’s decision comes at a time when the safety and effectiveness of HPV vaccination is being questioned. To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse reactions include Guilliane-Barre syndrome, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots and brain inflammation. The CDC acknowledged 44 reported deaths following Gardasil administration.