A vaccine that helps prevent the human papilloma virus was given away for free for the first time, during a immunization clinic held at the Sparks Fire Department on Saturday.
The virus is sexually transmitted, and the vaccine is not without controversy. HPV can lead to cervical cancer, and the Washoe County District Health Department held the free clinic.
Kids received free vaccines at the Sparks Fire Department, the lines extending down the street. Some parents brought their kids for typical immunizations like the one that wards off chicken pox...and others waited for the HPV vaccine.
Linda Leary says when her 11-year-old daughter goes to college, it'll be mandatory.
"This way, she's got it...then it's over," Leary says.
The HPV vaccine is controversial. It's been argued since it protects against sexually transmitted viruses, it encourages promiscuity. But it's an argument some parents don't buy. One parent says being active in your child's life and maintaining that relationship...is very important.
The health department says ordinarily the HPV vaccine costs $120 shot...and a series of three is required. One was given free on Saturday, and it's up to the families to get the others. Courtnee Fromm says the protection the shot offers outweighs the pain of a needle.
"It's worth it it's definitely worth it," Fromm says. "I've been waiting here almost two hours just to get this shot."
The state legislature is considering a bill that would require most insurance companies pay for the HPV vaccine. That legislation has passed the Senate and moved on to the Assembly. The health department says the vaccine was paid for today with state and federal funding.
Joe Harrington KOLO 8 News