Michigan Republican state senator Beverly Hammerstrom introduced legislation this week at the state capitol that would require all girls to be vaccinated for cervical cancer unless specifically exempted. This would make
Dr. James Graham of the Genesys-Hurley Cancer Institute of Flint MI, answered questions from parents – mostly women – about the benefits and drawbacks of the vaccine. Graham asserted at the Flint Holiday Inn “Prevalence of the HPV is as high as 50 to 70 percent, and most women’s immune systems will destroy the virus before it becomes cancer.” Genesys-Hurley Cancer Institute is affiliated with the Ascension hospital system, a Catholic healthcare system. Graham was called to testify about the vaccine to state legislators but did not appear because of prior medical committments.
According to the Flint Journal, state senator Hammerstrom says that she has bipartisan support for the measure from six female Democrats and six female Republicans and said “Requiring vaccines to be in school has been the most effective thing we’ve ever done as far as seeing that all kids are immunized. The vaccine has been available to the public since June of this year after the federal government recommended it for girls aged 11 and 12. Girls as young as nine years of age may also be vaccinated, according to the federal Advisory Council on Immunization Practices.
HPV is said to be responsible for up to 70 percent of some forms of cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Hammerstrom professed agnosticism about the means of contagion saying that the vaccine is to protect girls from disease and that parents need not “go into the whole issue of how you get it. It’s a drug against cancer. Support for the vaccine is also coming from some sectors of the medical community of the state. Those vaccinated receive a series of three inoculations that cost approximately $360, even while low-income families may re