April 16, 2007

Texas Legislature To Consider Requiring Gardasil For Sixth Grade Girls, New Hampshire Begins To Distribute Gardasil

The Texas Legislature in the new session that begins on Tuesday will consider two bills (SB 110, HB 215) that would require girls entering the sixth grade to receive Merck's human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil, KENS 5 Eyewitness News/San Antonio Express-News reports (Rigby, KENS 5 Eyewitness News/San Antonio Express-News, 1/4). Gardasil in clinical trials has been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases. FDA in July 2006 approved the vaccine for sale and marketing to girls and women ages nine to 26, and CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices later that month voted unanimously to recommend that girls ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 1/5). The measure would allow parents to apply for an exemption if they do not want their daughters to receive Gardasil. State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D) plans to sponsor the Senate version of the measure, and state Rep. Jessica Farrar (D) plans to sponsor the legislation in the House (KENS 5 Eyewitness News/San Antonio Express-News, 1/4).

New Hampshire To Begin Distributing Gardasil to Physicians
New Hampshire this week plans to begin distributing Gardasil to doctors in the state as part of a plan to provide Gardasil at no cost to some girls as part of a state program that offers immunizations to minors, the Concord Monitor reports (Sanger-Katz, Concord Monitor, 1/7). New Hampshire's program, announced in November 2006 by the state Department of Health and Human Services, plans to provide the vaccine to girls and women ages 11 to 18. The program, which is funded by the federal government and private insurers, has budgeted $4.8 million for Gardasil and is scheduled to begin immunizations this month. Insurance companies will pay about $3.6 million, or 75% of the estimated cost of the program. The state health department estimates that about 17,000 girls will receive Gardasil next year, which is about 25% of those eligible (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 12/1/06). According to the Monitor, some doctors in the state have waiting lists of patients who want to receive Gardasil. Some doctors will offer the vaccine on a first-come, first-serve basis and others will honor waiting lists. State officials said there will not be a long-term shortage of the vaccine. "Because it's such a new vaccine, that's one of the challenges we have, is balancing what the need is with what the uptake will be," Mary Ann Cooney, the state's public health director, said, adding, "We don't want to purchase too much and have it go to waste" (Concord Monitor, 1/7).

"Reprinted with permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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