Sellers to propose bill to make HPV vaccine available to 7th graders

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- State Rep. Bakari Sellers is set to announce Monday new legislation that would make the HPV vaccine available to seventh graders.

The announcement is set for noon Monday at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in downtown Charleston.{}

"One thing that I want everyone to understand is that the cost of someone who actually gets cervical cancer when it could have been prevented at an early age is draining.{} It's a cost that everyone in the community has to bear," stated Sellers.

According to a statement released by the cancer center, the bill would enable the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control to provide the HPV vaccine and educational materials to school children as early as seventh grade.{}

"In no way is it mandatory or in no way is it making parents go and get the vaccine," said Sellers.

Former first lady and cancer center board member Jenny Sanford and board chair Pamela Lackey will flank Sellers at the announcement on Monday.{}

A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Nikki Haley last year because, according to Haley, the bill would only allow, not require, DHEC to provide the vaccine.

"This is something that's a step in the right direction, and I don't want to let anybody stand in the way of this.{} It's going to be a long journey, but I look forward to having the discussion," said Sellers.

Haley called the bill "another taxpayer funded healthcare mandate."