Health officials say they won't change HPV vaccine mandate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — State health officials say there are no plans to change a new requirement that all middle school students get the HPV vaccine even though some parents, and now some lawmakers, have expressed concerns.

Children entering seventh-grade this fall in Rhode Island must get the vaccine unless their parents seek a medical or religious exemption.

Virginia and Washington D.C. are the only other jurisdictions that require the vaccine to attend school.

A parents' group in Rhode Island opposing the requirement says such mandates take away parental choice.

State health department spokeswoman Christina Batastini says the vaccine protects against a cancer-causing virus and the department isn't considering changing the school immunization regulations.

Some Republican representatives say they'll try to reverse the requirement legislatively, but the House speaker says he won't address it.