KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Perry’s HPV Vaccine Order Still Resonates, Bachmann Also Takes Heat

The controversy over Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2007 attempt to vaccinate girls against the human papillomavirus, which surfaced again at Monday's GOP presidential candidate debate, grew on Monday as a result of comments by Rep. Michele Bachmann.

NPR: Pediatricians Fact-Check Bachmann's Bashing Of HPV Vaccine
Now the nation's pediatricians have waded deep and early into the race for the presidency. ... on the Today show Tuesday morning, Bachmann went further, telling Matt Lauer, that a mother had approached her after the debate to recount the problems her daughter had after being vaccinated against HPV: "She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection. And she suffered from mental retardation thereafter" (Hensley, 9/13).

ABC News: Bachmann Comments Spark HPV 'Retardation' Debate
Bachmann's statements elicited a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): "The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record" (Gann, 9/13).

Minnesota Public Radio: Bachmann Attacks Perry Over Vaccination Requirement, Contradicts Expert Medical Opinion
Nationally, pediatricians recommend the HPV vaccine to their patients — girls and boys, aged 11 to 15 years, for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is administered in three separate doses over a six-month period. The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. (Zdechlik, 9/13).

The Texas Tribune: DePinho: Opposing HPV Vaccine "Unethical"
Dr. Ronald DePinho, the new president of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, says the vaccine is not just sound but "one of the great scientific advances in the history of medicine." DePinho said that as a physician, and the president of a leading cancer research institution and as a father of two young girls, "there's only one path here, which is to support vaccination" (Hamilton,9/13).

Politico: Rick Perry's HPV Mandate Returns To Haunt Him
[C]onservative leaders say Perry has not entirely put to rest questions about why a Republican so distrustful of government – and so opposed to government intervention in health care – would have taken such an early and interventionist position on HPV.  No other state has implemented an HPV policy as aggressive as the one Perry tried to put forward in Texas (Burns, 9/13).

Minnesota Public Radio: Failed HPV Requirement Haunts Perry's Campaign
Bachmann said Merck made millions of dollars as a result of the mandate. However, there's little proof to support her claim. The executive order would have gone into effect in September 2008; the legislature overturned it in April 2007. Effectively, the mandate disappeared before Merck had a chance to capitalize on it (Richert, 9/13).

The Texas Tribune: Mexico Mandates HPV Vaccine; States Consider It
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, measures to mandate vaccinations were filed in 23 states during 2006 and 2007. Two of the measures were adopted; one in Virginia and one for the District of Columbia. Since then, HPV mandate measures have been filed in five states, but none have been adopted (Guerra, 9/13).

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