The Allegheny County Board of Health has made the decision Wednesday to not require 7th graders to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the board decided not to mandate the vaccine, but it did decide to push for a plan to improve vaccination rates.
A mandate would have required 11- and 12-year-olds in Allegheny County to receive all three doses of the HPV vaccine by 7th grade, reports KDKA
The HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in men.
“This cancer takes about 30 years to form. By vaccinating kids today, we will see the difference by 2040. I’ll be gone, but our children will be here,” Chairman of the Department of Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Dr. Jonas Johnson said.
Board chairman Lee Harrison reportedly said the decision does not exclude possible future discussions, including the possibility of a mandate.