I support the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act, H.3204 and S.278, which allows the Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer HPV vaccine to children and adolescents who can’t afford it. It also authorizes DHEC to produce educational materials about the vaccine.
Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV; the vaccine could prevent 80 percent to 90 percent of it if given to all adolescents. HPV is also strongly linked to other cancers in both men and women.
The Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend providing the HPV vaccine to all children at age 11 to 12.
In order to maximize our immunization rates, we need educational resources to educate families, and we need financial resources to ensure that all children and adolescents have access to this vaccine.
Only about 60 percent of adolescent girls in South Carolina and fewer boys receive even the first dose of HPV vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers increasing the immunization rates a very high priority.
This legislation is urgently needed to provide DHEC with the authority to educate families about HPV and to offer the vaccine to the 2,400 children who cannot afford it.
HPV vaccine is safe. It is effective. It prevents cancer.
I should not have to analyze a patient’s insurance coverage to determine whether I can offer the vaccine. All children in South Carolina should have access to all recommended vaccines. The Cervical Cancer Prevention Act will ensure that they do.