Assessing mandatory HPV vaccination: who should call the shots?

J Law Med Ethics. Summer 2008;36(2):384-95, 214. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2008.00282.x.


In 2007, many legislatures considered, and two enacted, bills mandating HPV vaccination for young girls as a condition of school attendance. Such mandates raise significant legal, ethical, and social concerns. This paper argues that mandating HPV vaccination for minor females is premature since long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has not been established, HPV does not pose imminent and significant risk of harm to others, a sex specific mandate raises constitutional concerns, and a mandate will burden financially existing government health programs and private physicians. Absent careful consideration and public conversation, HPV mandates may undermine coverage rates for other vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / epidemiology
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Human Papillomavirus Recombinant Vaccine Quadrivalent, Types 6, 11, 16, 18
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Programs / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Vaccination / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Human Papillomavirus Recombinant Vaccine Quadrivalent, Types 6, 11, 16, 18
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines