US Government requires that women get the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) in order to become legal permanent residents of the US

I find this hard to believe – that the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is now requiring women to get the three-dose (and roughly $160) Gardasil vaccine that protects against 4 strains of HPV before they can become legal permanent residents of the US. This is an expensive vaccine! It is also not recommended for all women. Are they requiring all women to get this? What ages? What health statuses?

I can’t find detailed information about this change in vaccine requirements anywhere, even though it is important to consider. Yes, it is true that the vaccine may prevent cervical cancer or genital warts among many women, but this is not a vaccine that is required of other American women. Should women who are in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners be made to get the HPV vaccine? What about women in whom it may be contraindicated?

Given the lack of data among men, this requirement change affects only women – men are not required to get it (men can’t really get it anyway). What about young girls – are they being made to get Gardasil, too? Is this another way to fund Merck (the manufacturer or Gardasil), as has been suggested in other cases (like in Texas) where mandatory vaccines for young girls were being considered? What do you all think about this?

Read the USCIS press release on their web site and reports of this change in requirements on Feministing or this blog.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at