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Sorry kids, another shot!

Physicians found a new vaccine on their shelves this past summer to fight the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer and genital warts. Merck's Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix target four strains of HPV, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. The federal Food and Drug Administration approved the Gardasil vaccine for females between ages 9 and 26. Approval for Cervarix is pending.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infects an estimated 20 million people, with 6.2 million new infections each year. At least 3,700 women died from cervical cancer last year, according to the American Cancer Society. The new vaccine could prevent most cervical cancer deaths in the future.

The CDC recommends that the HPV vaccine be administered to all 11- or 12-year-old girls. It also recommends the HPV vaccine be covered by the federal Vaccines for Children Program, which covers Medicaid recipients, Alaska-Native and American Indians, and some uninsured and underinsured children.

States determine school vaccine requirements. New Hampshire health officials announced plans at the end of November to routinely give girls ages 11 though 18 the vaccine. And a bi-partisan group of women legislators in Michigan are supporting legislation requiring all sixth grade girls to be vaccinated before starting school this fall. The Michigan Senate passed the legislation and at press time, the bill was waiting to be addressed by the House.

Each of the three doses of the vaccination cost between $100 and $150. Aetna, Cigna and WellPoint have already announced they will provide coverage for the vaccine in Michigan. The Michigan legislation allows exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
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Title Annotation:TRENDS AND TRANSITIONS; human papilloma virus vaccines for children by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:Election update.
Next Article:Who's the boss?

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