Gardisil Required by Law… for Immigrants?
From an ICIRR email alert:
In July 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) quietly added Gardasil, a vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), to their list of required vaccinations for immigrants applying to adjust their immigration status or for visas to enter the U.S. HPV is a sexually-transmitted viral infection and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Implemented last month, immigrant girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 26 are now required to receive the vaccine. The National Coalition for Immigrant Woman’s Rights (NCIWR), a coalition that supports and promotes reproductive justice for immigrant women and their families, strongly objects to this mandate. The new requirement violates a woman’s basic right to self–determination and creates additional barriers for immigrant families seeking adjustment of status.
The HPV vaccination requirement is essentially a surcharge applied only to young immigrant women that will effectively block them from immigrating to the U.S. or becoming U.S. citizens. Gardasil is the most expensive vaccine on the market, costing a person nearly $500. The vaccine is given in three-shot doses, costing $162 per dose. This is and can be a lot of money for women seeking adjustment of immigration status. For example, a woman with two daughters of vaccination age would have to come up with almost $1,000 to cover these costs.
So HPV vaccination is so essential to public health that it is required for immigrants to receive citizenship… and yet so unimportant that it is not required for citizens? What weird message about sexual health are we sending here? And is it sorta kinda TOTALLY RACIST?