CDC changes its mind: Immigrants don't need HPV vaccine to enter US


Immigrant girls and women will no longer be required to get the HPV vaccine before filing for their green cards, read an article from the Associated Press today. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires a host of vaccines be given to immigrants applying for green card status, however, starting December 14, HPV will no longer be on that list.

The reason? Mostly because American citizens are not required by law to get the shot either, so why should immigrants be singled out?

While HPV remains the single most widespread sexually transmitted disease in the country, only a small percentage of those infected with the virus will go on to develop life-threatening diseases like cervical cancer. The cost-effectiveness of the Gardasil vaccine (the HPV vaccine) remains largely in debate. The price of the vaccine, which is administered in three separate shots, can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000. Insurance companies do not cover health services required for immigration purposes, the AP reported.

"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 between the ages of 11 and 26 who were seeking to become legal permanent US 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, the Associated Press reported. The Gardasil shot was added to the vaccine list for immigrants in July 2008 by the CDC.

To find out more about the vaccine and this latest development, read the full AP story.


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