Lawmakers from Texas and 11 other states have proposed adding the human papillomavirus vaccine to the mandatory list for young girls to attend school, starting with six graders. The Gardasil vaccine has been shown to protect women against some of the strains of HPV, one of the causes of cervical cancer. Complicating matters, HPV is passed on through sexual contact.
"I don't know of another vaccine that has been developed that would prevent cancer," says Dr. Bill Brown, Tyler Obstetrics and Gynecology.
He says the Gardasil vaccine is effective against 2 major types of HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Dr. Brown says requiring six grade girls to get the vaccine would decrease the number of people infected.
"I am not a real big proponent of the government mandating a lot of things but I think it may be necessary to do that in order to ensure wide spread use of the vaccine," says Dr. Brown.
One of the men who would vote on the mandate is Texas State Representative Leo Berman.
"I think the HPV vaccine is a marvelous discovery but I would never ever vote to mandate it on anybody. I think it's a woman's choice and a parent's choice," says Representative Berman.
So how do East Texas mothers feel about the vaccine?
Michelle Mackelfresh is the mother of 13 year old girl.
"I think it is a great idea. I think even though it doesn't cover against all the virus that can cause ovarian cancer. I think it is a good preventative measure and I think it should be taken. We vaccinate against everything else so why not this," says Michelle.
Kim Dupree has two daughters, 8 and 10 years old.
"I would feel uncomfortable making it mandatory because for one thing I think should be decided by each individual parent. Secondly, I just don't think morally it is promoting good behavior," says Kim.
Another issue on the vaccine is the cost. It costs about $200 per dose, which there are 3 doses taken over 6 months.