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SWR BOE urges elected officials to oppose mandatory HPV vaccine

The Shoreham-Wading River Central School District Board of Education has urged elected officials to oppose the amendment to Section 2164 of the state public health law, which mandates a human papillomavirus vaccine for all public school students.
In a letter dated Nov. 26 from the school board to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and elected officials, the board members stated they were opposed to enacting any health bill, including HPV, that mandates vaccinations for viruses that are not transmitted in schools.
“The HPV vaccination has historically been a parental decision, is not transmitted in schools, lacks the full support of the medical community and would require schools to enforce a widely unpopular mandate by excluding children,” the letter stated.
The revised bill, under review by the Senate, would require all children born after Jan. 1, 2009, to obtain a dose of immunizing agents against HPV. If approved, it could take effect Sept. 1, 2021.
Parents in the district have been informed that, if the state approves the amendment, all students must be vaccinated, or face exclusion from all school activities.
Last year’s amendment to the law prohibited the use of religious exemptions for vaccination requirements, sparking concern from parents in neighboring districts.
That mandate “strained the relationships between our educators and parents by requiring schools to enforce the amendment through excluding children,” the letter stated, and forced some parents to homeschool their children.
The board feels the HPV mandate will “create more dissonance between schools and families” and will result in many more students being excluded from school.
The letter noted that school attendance and academic success is strongly linked to health.
The HPV vaccine, which prevents certain cancers, is typically given to children around the age of 11 or 12. The revised bill states that HPV is “an incredibly common sexually transmitted infection that can be passed even when an infected person is asymptomatic, and can cause genital warts or cancer.”
The bill is sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who sponsored legislation eliminating the religious exemption for vaccines for schoolchildren. Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia require the HPV vaccine for children to attend school.
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