Henrico County VA
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Bills would repeal HPV vaccine requirement

In 2007, the General Assembly passed a law requiring girls to be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus before entering the sixth grade.

Now, two measures before the General Assembly would repeal that requirement: House Bill 95, proposed by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas; and HB 1112, sponsored by Republican Delegates Kathy Byron of Lynchburg and Timothy Hugo of Centreville.

“It’s strange that we would mandate this,” Marshall said.

Some parents object to having their daughters take the HPV vaccine, usually sold under the brand name Gardasil.

“You are putting parents against the power of the state,” Marshall said. “This is pressuring the parents, and I don’t think it should be done.”

Virginia’s HPV vaccination requirement has a lenient opt-out clause: Girls can forgo the vaccine if their parents make that decision after reviewing materials describing the link between HPV and cervical cancer.

But HB 95 and HB 1112 would take the HPV law off the books entirely. Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.

No action has been taken yet on Marshall’s bill.

But on Thursday, a subcommittee took up HB 1112 and voted 6-2 in favor of the measure. It now goes to the full committee for consideration.

HPV is spread by skin-to-skin and sexual contact. It can cause cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both men and women. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil as an effective vaccine against HPV. Medical experts recommended that girls receive the vaccine at ages 11 or 12 for the best protection.

Gardasil is given in three doses over six months. Each dose costs about $130, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, nearly 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 3,700 women die.

Byron opposed Virginia’s HPV vaccination law and has campaigned to overturn it. She said that the vaccine has not been adequately tested and that the General Assembly acted hastily in 2007.

If Virginia keeps its HPV vaccination requirement, Marshall has proposed another measure – HB 824. It would make the state liable for any injury caused by the vaccine.

Last year, Byron’s bill to repeal the HPV vaccination law passed the House but died in the Senate Health and Education Committee, which at the time was dominated by Democrats. This year, because of GOP gains in the Senate, Republicans control that committee.

How they voted
Subcommittee No. 1 of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions voted 6-2 on Thursday to recommend approval of House Bill 1112, which would repeal Virginia’s law requiring girls to get the HPV vaccine.

All five Republicans on the subcommittee voted for the bill: Delegates Richard Bell of Staunton, Scott Garrett of Lynchburg, John O’Bannon of Henrico, Christopher Peace of Mechanicsville and Margaret Ransone of Kinsale. They were joined by Democratic Delegate Algie Howell of Norfolk.

Voting against HB 1112 were Democratic Delegates Joseph Morrissey of Richmond and Lionell Spruill of Chesapeake.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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