Immigrant Girls And Women Seeking Green Cards Will No Longer Be Required to Get HPV Vaccine

Anabelle Garay, Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2009

Immigrant girls and women will no longer have to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus to get their green cards.

Starting Dec. 14, the HPV, or human papillomavirus vaccine will no longer be on the list of immunizations female immigrants ages 11 to 26 must receive before becoming legal permanent residents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the change on Friday. The CDC said it will require immunizations for which there is a public health need either at the time the person immigrates or changes their status to green card holder.

“More than half of the immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking opportunity are women,” Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, said in a statement. “We thank the CDC for restoring their dignity and reproductive justice.”

Girls and women seeking to become legal permanent U.S. residents were required to get at least the first dose of the HPV vaccine, which protects against some strains of the virus blamed for cervical cancer. It was added to the list of required vaccinations for immigrants in July 2008.

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Attempts to require the vaccine for American girls has brought emotional debate and complaints that such mandates intrude on family decisions about sex education. In Texas, lawmakers fought off a 2007 order by Gov. Rick Perry requiring the shots for sixth-grade girls amid questions about vaccine’s safety, efficacy and cost.

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“It also put the financial burden on the individual woman and her family,” Gabriela Valle, senior director of community outreach and mobilization for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, said Monday. {snip}

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