State lawmakers file bill to require HPV vaccine

There's a new push to vaccinate students in Florida against human papillomavirus, knows as HPV.
State lawmakers have filed a bill that would require the shots.
While some parents support the use of vaccines to prevent cancer, others have moral objections, or believe the government shouldn't require the shots.
The two-page bill filed by Florida lawmakers this month in both the House and Senate adds HPA to the list of required vaccinations for students.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is most commonly spread through sexual contact and infects up to 14 million people a year.
The CDC also says HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
The agency currently recommends that all children ages 11-12 get two shots to help prevent certain diseases and potentially deadly cancers, including cervical cancer in women.
“I've actually have known people to get cervical cancer and die from it. So if there's any way to prevent it, do it,” said Orlando parent Katie Bowen.
Bowen said she supports the vaccine, but also believes parents should make the decision.
“It shouldn't be forced upon their kids, it should be a choice,” she said.
Some parents oppose a mandate, while others have raised safety concerns about vaccines, though the CDC says the shots are safe.
Florida law already requires students to get vaccinated for diseases such as polio and chickenpox.
But the health department says they can receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons.
State Rep. Amy Mercado, who represents parts of Orange County and helped sponsor the bill, said she believes it's important to protect children from cancer as early as possible.
Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C., require the vaccine.
The Florida bill still has a long way to go before becoming law,
Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi

Michael Lopardi joined Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter in April 2015.