Coventry School Committee Decries HPV Vaccine Requirement

Aug 27, 2015

Credit National Cancer Institute

In a unanimous vote, the Coventry School Committee has adopted a resolution calling for the reversal of a new HPV vaccine requirement.

The resolution asks Governor Gina Raimondo to reconsider the rule, which requires incoming seventh graders to be vaccinated against HPV.

The committee voted after several of its members commented that parents are angered by the mandate. In a video posted on YouTube, a member of the audience expressed similar sentiments.

"You’re getting pushback because people in Coventry and across our nation are tired of being told that the bureaucrats know better than we know for our children," said the commenter, who identified himself as Ashley Jones. "That’s what you have going on here."

Rhode Island health officials say what’s going on is a policy to protect students from the HPV virus, which can cause cervical and other cancers. The state requires several other vaccines for students, including measles and polio vaccines. Health officials say there is a procedure for parents to opt out of the vaccine for medical or other reasons.

Rhode Island is the only state in the country requiring the HPV vaccine for both male and female students. One other state and the District of Columbia require the vaccine for female students.