East Texan Women Share Their Thoughts On The HPV Vaccine - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/5/07-Rusk

East Texan Women Share Their Thoughts On The HPV Vaccine

It's an emotional debate, Governor Rick Perry making an executive order requiring 11 and 12 year old school girls to get the HPV vaccine.   Some state lawmakers say they should have been allowed to hear from doctors, scientists and patients before the mandate. However, parents can opt out of giving their daughters the vaccine for religious beliefs.  KLTV has received lots of your emails and concerns about this topic.   We spoke with one East Texas grandmother says it should be a parent's right to make the decision for their children.

"I really think he is overstepping his boundaries when it comes to your family and your children," says Sharon Bobbitt.

64 year old Sharon Bobbitt of Rusk has 3 granddaughters and 3 great granddaughters. She says they won't be getting the vaccine, that protects against strains of the Human Papilloma Virus, the leading cause of cervical cancer.

"It's a parents decision...  it's not someone in the government that tells them you have to have this shot," says Sharon.

One of her biggest concerns of the HPV vaccine is its side effects.

"So what happens... if they do take it and they get ready to have children and they can't have children or they take it and they have children and it causes them to have birth defects," says Sharon.

On the Center for Disease Control website, it says the vaccine is safe and effective.   Studies have not shown any serious side effects.

But, Sharon says it's the thought of unknown side effects that outweighs the benefits of the drug for her family and she understands the risks her granddaughters face.

"I had cervical cancer when I was 30 years old.  I worry about them getting it but I know most of them are healthy and they go through their check-ups and they are well," says Sharon.

Sharon says it will take a lot more research before she considers changing her mind.

However, some East Texans agree with Governor Perry.  Here's what they have to say:

"Why would any parent not want their daughter to have this shot.  It could help save her life and I think it's ridiculous they say this just gives them permission to have sex," say Leah.

"Exposure to the high risk strains of HPV can have long term health care consequences. Governor Perry and the State of Texas have taken a huge step in helping reduce the incidence of HPV," says Jenny.

The same day Governor Perry made his announcement, a Maine lawmaker said he, too wanted the State of Maine to require all girls entering sixth grade be vaccinated against HPV.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com  

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