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HPV VACCINE: From recommended to required?

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A bill has been proposed in Illinois that would require kids to get vaccinated for the Human Papillomavirus.

The proposal is sparking some controversy on social media.

Health officials said it could help eradicate certain types of cancers.

Some parents are worried about potential side effects.

The proposed bill would require students entering the 6th grade to start their two or three shot series of the HPV vaccine, commonly known as Gardasil.

The Tazewell County Health Department first wants parents to understand what the dangers of the disease.

"There is about 33,000 people in the United States who are being diagnosed with some sort of cancer that has been caused by HPV," said Sara Sparkman with the Tazewell County Health Department.

HPV is spread through sexual contact.

It's one reason some parents feel their 6th grader shouldn't have the vaccination.

One viewer wrote on our Facebook page it's "ridiculous for government to mandate medical treatment to prevent an illness that is not contagious. HPV cannot be caught through casual contact."

The Tazewell County Health Department said it's about prevention for when they are sexually active.

"What we want them to understand is that it's not sex at 12-years-old. It's about preventing cancers when you're older." It's boys and girls. It's not just girls. It's not just cervical cancer. It can be head and neck cancers as well," said Sparkman.

Now that we know what HPV is, let's take a look at the vaccination.

"It's a safe vaccine. It's a recommended vaccine. It should be given along with the other vaccinations kids are given as they go to school," said Sparkman.

The side effects listed for the HPV vaccine aren't severe unless the patient has a history of certain allergies.

Doctors said the shot protects against nine strains of HPV.

But should it be required?

One viewer shared they believe in the shot, but aren't sure the state can make it a requirement.

Alex Menke

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