Records hint at link between vaccine, campaign donation

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The documents obtained Wednesday by the AP provide new detail about the relationship between the Governor’s Office and Merck, which makes the only HPV vaccine on the market. Perry’s mandate has inflamed conservatives, who say it contradicts Texas’ abstinence-only sexual-education policies and intrudes too far into families’ lives. Though there is a provision in state law that allows parents to opt out of the vaccine, opponents say the shots are too new and too costly to force on young girls. Merck had waged a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to get state legislatures to require 11- and 12-year-old girls to get the three-dose vaccine against the virus that can cause cervical cancer as a requirement for school attendance. But it announced Tuesday that it was suspending those efforts after its motives were questioned. The New Jersey company stands to make billions if Gardasil is required nationwide. AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Rick Perry’s chief of staff met with key aides about a new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer on the same day its manufacturer donated money to his campaign, documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Texas became the first state to require the vaccine against human papillomavirus earlier this month when Perry issued an executive order requiring it for girls entering sixth grade. Lawmakers are considering overriding the measure. A calendar for Chief of Staff Deirdre Delisi obtained under Texas’ open-records laws shows she met with the governor’s budget director and three members of his office for an “HPV Vaccine for Children Briefing” on Oct.16. That same day, Merck & Co.’s political action committee donated $5,000 to Perry and a total of $5,000 to eight state lawmakers. Perry spokesman Robert Black said the timing of the meeting and the donation was a coincidence. “There was no discussion of any kind of mandates,” Black said. last_img

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