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Requiring Human Papillomavirus Vaccine for Immigrant Women

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Abstract

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of 11- to 12-year-old girls, with catch-up vaccination for girls and women aged 13 to 26 years. Although compulsory HPV vaccination is not currently mandated for any U.S. population, immigrant women aged 11–26 years are now required to receive the first injection of the vaccine (the full series consists of three doses) as a result of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. According to this law, immigrants applying for visas to enter the United States or to adjust their immigration status must receive the inoculations that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends for U.S. residents. In the case of HPV, this law represents not only an undue burden on immigrant women, but also raises scientific and ethical questions regarding the benefit of vaccination in this population. Given these issues, immigrant women should not be required to provide documentation of HPV vaccination at the time of visa application or adjustment of immigration status.

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