Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

About 72% of seventh graders got the HPV vaccination, according to preliminary data from the state health department. The HPV vaccine was a new requirement for this school year, and it generated complaints from some parents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationally, 60% of girls between 13 and 17 had at least one HPV dose, and 41% of boys between 13 and 17 got at least one HPV dose in 2014. The recommendations are for boys and girls to receive all three doses by the time they finish high school.

National Institutes of Health

When Rhode Island health officials rolled out a new immunization requirement for seventh graders this fall, they weren’t expecting controversy. The vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus, protects against a sexually transmitted infection that causes most cervical, anal, and throat cancers. But a small but vocal group of opponents say the state shouldn’t mandate the HPV vaccine, and they’re taking the fight to the statehouse.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

An advocacy group opposing the new HPV vaccine requirement for seventh graders is raising money to bring the fight to the state capital. Their efforts may hit a roadblock.

 A spokeswoman says some House republicans plan to pre-file legislation aimed at reversing a new HPV vaccine requirement for middle school students. Representatives Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) and Justin Price (R-Hopkinton, Exeter, Richmond) have spoken against the new requirement.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Physician, educator and talk-show host Pablo Rodriguez joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the debate over the HPV vaccine; the outlook for Donald Trump; whether court documents related to 38 Studios should be unsealed; and the latest on the PawSox.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department canceled a community meeting about the HPV vaccine planned for Thursday at the Middletown Public Library. A department spokeswoman says staff have been threatened online. The department decided to cancel the event after consulting with State Police. 

Rhode Island now requires boys and girls entering seventh grade to get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Some Rhode Islanders have protested the vaccine mandate. They can request an exemption. 

Immunization Action Coalition

Protestors are asking the state health department to abolish the requirement that all seventh graders receive the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Parents can request an exemption. But the groups say they’re still opposed to the mandate. The health department has added additional community meeting dates to respond to public concerns.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Beginning this fall, all seventh graders in Rhode Island must receive the first dose of the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is already widely used, although some parents object.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In most cases it just goes away, but in others it can cause cervical and other kinds of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend routine vaccination for boys and girls around 11 years old.

The state’s health department is considering updates to its immunization policy for school kids from preschool through college. The proposals would require flu shots for kids up to age five and the HPV vaccine for kids entering ninth grade.

Looking for a little something to read over the long weekend? Try the Rhode Island Medical Society's Rhode Island Medical Journal, now online and totally free.

Some of the articles are for a scholarly audience, but I found lots of interest and think others who aren't physicians or researchers will, too.