All pre teenage children in America may soon be compulsorily vaccinated against AIDS and venereal disease. Children aged 11 and 12 are to be targeted in a proposed new wave of vaccinations before they become sexually active.
The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics which establish the national vaccination policy in the US are recommending "universal application" of the vaccines. They are also calling for the introduction of a hepatitis B jab at the same time, which will be a further requirement for school and daycare admission.
The move may merely be the first stage of a policy that will eventually see all infants vaccinated against AIDS. The man behind the proposal is Dr Neal Halsey from the Johns Hopkins University, who set the current recommended age. But he has also advocated injecting the AIDS vaccine into all infants once the vaccine is licensed, despite uncertainty about its safety and effectiveness.
The CDC's recommendation is meeting with some opposition. The Ohio Parents for Vaccine Safety is urging State legislators to resist the new proposal. "Vaccine policy has gone too far. State legislators should object and draw the line when it comes to forcing VD vaccines on babies and schoolchildren," commented Dr Kristine Severyn, the group's director (Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, June 1997).