PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Board of Health decided not to require 7th graders to be vaccinated against┬áthe human papillomavirus.

According to our partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the board decided not to mandate the vaccine at a meeting on Wednesday— but it did decide to push for a plan to improve vaccination rates.

Following CDC guidelines, the mandate would have required 11- and 12-year-olds in Allegheny County to receive all three doses of the HPV vaccine by 7th grade.

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Board chairman Lee Harrison reportedly said the motions did not exclude board action from future discussion, including the possibility of a mandate.

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.

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