In Texas and New York, Merck made campaign contributions to key players in advocating that the vaccine be mandated, and questions were being raised in the press and in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In March, Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D–Baldwin Park, pulled his bill mandating that seventh–grade girls in California be vaccinated against HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. That age was selected because Merck said Gardasil, to be effective, needs to be given before girls start having sex. The bill ran into considerable opposition inside and outside the Capitol.
Now back without much fanfare, the Assembly approved the Hernandez bill last month. It is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Health Committee.
The arguments against mandating Gardasil haven’t changed, but Hernandez’s bill has.