TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - A new bill in Florida’s legislature would make it mandatory for public school students to get the HPV vaccine.

Senate Bill 1558, entitled the “Women’s Cancer Prevention Act,” would require all 11- and 12-year-old students, both boys and girls, in Florida’s public schools to receive the vaccination for human papillomavirus, or HPV.

HPV is a common virus that infects about one in every four people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most HPV infections go away on their own thanks to the body’s immune system, it can cause several types of cancer in both men and women.

The CDC says that HPV causes nearly 31,000 cancers each year in the U.S. but says the vaccine can prevent about 28,000 from occurring.

Students in the state’s public schools are already required to be vaccinated for tetanus, polio, mumps, rubella and several other diseases. SB1558 would add HPV to that required vaccine list but says there would be procedures for exempting a child from immunization requirements.

Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have already passed similar mandates, according to Fox 13.

The bill was introduced by Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami). If passed, it would take effect on July 1.

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