Richardson vetoes HPV vaccine bill

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This is old news (I meant to touch on it) but Gov. Bill Richardson vetoed SB1174 of last week:

The New Mexico Medical Society didn’t voice opposition to a bill that would have required all girls entering sixth grade to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer until the measure had passed last month.

This week, in a move that surprised some, Gov. Bill Richardson vowed to veto it after hearing from doctors and others who oppose the bill.

“I felt bad that it was after the fact,” Randy Marshall, the medical society’s executive director, said Wednesday.

The new vaccine protects women against some strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The measure would have required all private and public school girls to decide whether to get the first shot in a series of three before school began this fall. Girls also could have refused the vaccine, which would have been as simple as checking a box on an information pamphlet about the vaccine.

Just like Richardson’s veto of funding to study the Gila and San Francisco rivers, his administration supported this legislation. During a January meeting with Grant County leaders, Sec. of Health Michelle Lujan Grisham said getting the vaccine into schools was a priority for the Department of Health:

“The HPV vaccine is a great thing,” she said. “This is a vaccine that will prevent cancer.”
Grisham said the vaccine will be targeted to girls age 11 to 12.
“Some people’s reaction to that will be, ‘That seems inappropriate,’” she said. “That’s not true. It’s flat prevention, and it’s most effective if you start with this population.”

And, as with the veto of the Gila Funding, Richardson’s action came as a surprise late in the game, with a quick reversal of the expected outcome. Fortunately, he did sign Sen. Dede Feldman’s bill mandating insurance coverage for the vaccine.

UPDATE: Cleaned up some redundant writing.

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