As Colorado lawmakers consider one proposal to promote the vaccination of young girls against cervical cancer, they’re also looking at another measure that would require all health insurance companies to pay for shots for their patients.
The measure from Reps. Bernie Buescher and Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, would also set aside $1.5 million from the state’s tobacco settlement to pay for vaccinations of girls who don’t have health insurance.
“We can end cervical cancer so I don’t understand what we’re waiting for,” said Primavera, who got cervical cancer following treatments for breast cancer.
Buescher said the bill, set for a hearing Thursday, is separate from the one being considered in the Senate. He said he got the idea from talking to his daughter, a medical student, who had worked with women with cervical cancer, and said he has not been working with the vaccine maker Merck & Co.
The Senate measure would require doctors to tell parents of about the availability of the vaccine that prevents infections from two strains of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer. Under the current version, girls entering the sixth grade would have to show their school proof that they have been vaccinated or that their parents signed a form rejecting it. However, lawmakers are considering changing it so that information would be kept private.
Merck had lobbied for the Senate bill and other similar bills in other states until last month, when it suspended its national lobbying effort following criticism from parents and medical groups.
Maybe more testing needs to be done on this vaccine before it becomes mandatory.