The licensure in 2006 of a vaccine against the subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) responsible for the majority of cervical cancers and genital warts was heralded as a watershed moment for vaccination, cancer prevention, and global health. A safe and effective vaccine against HPV has long been viewed as an enormous asset to cervical cancer prevention efforts worldwide. This is particularly true for places lacking robust Pap screening programs where cervical cancer has the greatest prevalence and mortality. Well before its licensure, however, some observers noted significant obstacles that would need to be addressed in order for an HPV vaccination program to succeed. These included the vaccine's relatively high cost, availability, and opposition from socially conservative groups. Such concerns associated with the implementation of HPV vaccination were soon overwhelmed by the furor that followed the unexpectedly early efforts by the US state governments to require the vaccine as a condition of attendance in public schools, proposals imprecisely referred to as "mandates." In this study, we review the controversy surrounding this debate and its effects on important ethical and public health issues that still need to be addressed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)