WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. government panel that recommended cervical-cancer vaccinations for preteen girls says the vaccine should not be mandated.
Dr. Jon Abramson, chairman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee on immunization practices, said he and panel members told drugmaker Merck & Co. that the vaccine, Gardasil, should not be required for school attendance, The Washington Times reported.
"The vaccines out there now are for very communicable diseases. A child in school is not at an increased risk for HPV like he is measles," Abramson told the newspaper.
Gardasil is nearly 100 percent effective against two strains of human papillomavirus -- HPV -- that lead to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases in the United States, the newspaper said.
Abramson said he is also concerned that states can't afford to provide the expensive vaccine.
The vaccine is taken in a series of three shots at $120 each, the newspaper said.