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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2007

Senator Constance N. Johnson
Senator Constance N. Johnson

Sen. Johnson Decides Against Hearing for HPV Bill

State Sen. Constance N. Johnson has decided against requesting a hearing for Senate Bill 487. The measure would have required all Oklahoma girls entering the sixth grade to be immunized against the human papillomavirus (HPV). In clinical trials the inoculation was 100 percent effective in preventing precancerous cervical conditions caused by the types of HPV included in the vaccine. The vaccine protects against specific strains of HPV which cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

“My main motivation for introducing this bill was to begin a public dialogue and raise public awareness,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma City. “For the first time in the history of medicine, we have a vaccine that can prevent a type of cancer. It’s something people need to know about.”

In Oklahoma, cervical cancer is the eighth most frequent cancer in women. The incidence rate for cervical cancer in this state is 10.4 per 100,000, compared to 9.3 per 100,000 nationally. Oklahoma has a higher mortality rate than the national average as well.

Johnson said having achieved the goal of spurring a public dialogue, she has determined that legislative action is not necessary, and so will not ask for a committee hearing on SB 487 this session.

“In Texas, Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order requiring the vaccine. In Oklahoma, the State Board of Health has the authority to require specific inoculations,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she would bring a Senate Resolution to the floor to help continue to raise awareness about the impact of cervical cancer in Oklahoma as well the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in preventing the disease.

“I want to encourage us all to continue to learn everything we can about the benefits of this immunization and how it could save lives right here in Oklahoma,” Johnson said.

For more information contact:
Senator C. Johnson's Office - (405) 521-5531

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