New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Sex and Vaccination

Co Authors:

Erik Zavrel
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University

Clyde Freeman Herreid
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo


This case study focuses on the controversy surrounding the decision by Texas Governor Rick Perry to mandate the compulsory vaccination of girls in the Texas public school system against the human papillomavirus (HPV) prior to entering the sixth grade. The interrupted case method is particularly appropriate for this subject, with successive sections providing a general overview of the disease, the reasons for and against such a mandatory vaccination program, and a disclosure of what ultimately transpired in Texas. Designed for an ethics or public policy course, the case could easily be adapted to emphasize biological and medical topics.

  • To probe the boundary between elected officials’ duty to protect the public health and the right of individuals to make decisions affecting their health and well being.
  • To discern potential bias and partiality in scientific issues.
  • To fashion a compromise solution that makes allowances for dissenting or minority viewpoints in addressing a major public health issue.
Keywords: HPV; human papillomavirus; vaccine; vaccination; oncogene; cervical cancer; sexually transmitted disease; STD; Gardasil; bioethics; Governor Rick Perry; Texas
Topical Area: Ethics, Policy issues, Scientific argumentation,Social issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, General public & informal education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Public Health   Biology (General)   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 04/11/08
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

  Get Answer Key
I really wish this case study was updated. Many questions focus on girls getting the HPV vaccine, but say nothing about the CDC's recommendation for boys to get the vaccine. I used some of the questions, but did not use the case because of this.

Jon Darkow

Attica Ohio,

City State:
security code
Enter Security Code: