Pending State Law Expands Required Vaccines

There is a potential new New York State Senate bill, Senate Bill S298A, which would require all children born after Jan. 1, 2008 to receive immunization against the human papillomavirus infection (HPV). 

This bill follows the recent passing of a New York State Law which requires all students to receive mandatory vaccinations in order to attend school or daycare, despite religious or other non-medical exemptions.

If this bill is passed, the HPV vaccine will be added to the list of obligatory immunizations New York State students must receive for school admittance. Current mandatory vaccinations include the Hepatitis B vaccine and the Polio vaccine. 

Upon the passing of this bill, parents must ensure that their children receive the HPV vaccine “in the same manner and according to the same time schedule that other immunizations are currently administered” in order for their children to attend school, according to the New York State Senate. 

The timing in which an individual receives this vaccine is crucial as children who are immunized against HPV between the ages of 11 and 12 are “better protected from the serious health problems [the virus] can cause” according to the New York State Department of Health.

The bill was drafted following an ongoing concern of cervical cancer which affects 470,000 women around the world resulting in 233,000 deaths each year; 99.7% of those cases can be connected to HPV. Additionally, “over 9,000 males are affected by cancers caused by HPV infections that do not go away.” Other cancers caused by the virus include cancers of the mouth/throat, anus and penis. 

The HPV vaccine differs from other mandatory immunizations for school in that the virus is not passed through casual contact, but rather through sexual contact, which may make the vaccine’s requirement for children all the more controversial. However, the timely matter in which an individual receives this immunization is important as the vaccine’s effectiveness is stronger prior to first sexual contact. 

Member of the New Paltz community Lindsay M.W. spoke out against the obligation of receiving this immunization for school, sarcastically stating “I didn’t know they were condoning sex in school.”

One member of the New Paltz community opposed the bill for fear of their choices being taken away.

“Forced vaccination is a violation of human rights,” said New Paltz community member Paul Escudero.

“I had HPV cancer that was not related to my cervix but was gynecological. I needed surgical intervention,” said New Paltz resident Janet Yusko. “Thankfully everything turned out well. So yes, you can put me in the pro-HPV vaccine column.”

Every New York State resident can voice their own opinion right now on the bill using the New York State Senate website, which prompts viewers to vote either “aye” or “nay” in support of the bill. New York residents can join a discussion board revolving around the matter,