Iowa senator questions HPV vaccine safety

An Iowa senator introduced a bill that would require parental consent for minors to receive the HPV vaccine. The senator falsely claimed that the HPV vaccine is unsafe. He also stated that minors cannot be trusted to make decisions about vaccine safety. Health care providers and health organizations voiced concerns that this bill could harm efforts to protect young people against HPV-related cancer due to persistent myths about the HPV vaccine and sexual health.

Risk level: High

Fact-checking sources: Social media posts and articles about this bill may discourage patients in Iowa from getting the HPV vaccine or from vaccinating their children against HPV, especially when false claims about the vaccine are coming from a government official. Doctors may face questions about the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine. Messaging may emphasize that the HPV vaccine is very safe and reduces the risk of HPV-related cancer. Recent studies show that HPV vaccination dramatically reduces cervical cancer rates, putting some countries on track to eliminate the disease. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for adolescents of any gender ages 11 to 12, but anyone between the ages of 9 and 45 can receive it.