Teen Rejects Vaccine on Moral Grounds; Denied Citizenship

Time is running out for a British teen seeking U.S. citizenship after she refused to be injected with a vaccine that protects against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer.

Simone Davis, who turns 18 next January, turned down the vaccine Gardasil because she says she is not sexually active and believes the vaccine comes with the risk of adverse health effects.

"I am only 17 years old and planning to go to college and not have sex anytime soon," Simone, a devout Christian who believes the Bible prohibits premarital sex, told ABC News. "There is no chance of getting cervical cancer, so there's no point in getting the shot."

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U.S. law, however, requires immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens to receive a list of vaccinations, Gardasil being among them.

Though reports suggest the vaccine is linked to side effects such as fainting, redness and inflammation and fever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended that all young immigrant girls receive Gardasil, maintains that the reported cases of adverse health effects were not clearly linked to the vaccine.

Still, Simone says she feels like the government is using immigrants to experiment the drug.

"I told Nanny (Simone's grandmother) that if it is such a great vaccine, why isn't it mandatory for everyone?" asked Simone, who highlighted how Gardasil is not required for U.S. citizens.

Simone moved to the United States in 2000 when her paternal grandmother, who is also her adoptive mother, married an American. Her biological mother abandoned her when she was a baby and her father could not care for her. She has been seeking U.S. citizenship for the past nine years because the U.S. does not recognize the type of guardianship granted to her grandmother in Britain.

Jean Davis, Simone's grandmother, is a teacher at Faith Christian School in Florida. Davis, who Simone calls "Nanny," is waging a fight against the law that requires all immigrant girls and women between the ages of 11 to 26 to receive the Gardasil vaccine.

"Someone has to stand up and say, 'This isn't right.' These girls are being forced,'" Davis said, according to Florida Freedom newspapers.

The 63-year-old grandmother added, "You wouldn't walk around with a crash helmet on if you weren't going to ride a motorcycle."

Davis and Simone have requested a waiver regarding the vaccine for moral and religious reasons, but they were recently rejected by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

The two can appeal, but Davis says she doesn't have enough money to do so. Meanwhile, Simone faces the possibility of being removed from the country and separated from her grandmother.

Another possibility is for Simone to reapply for U.S. citizenship as an adult when she turns 18 next year if she does not become a permanent resident before then. But that would mean she would have to wait another five years before she is eligible for citizenship.

And not becoming a U.S. citizen this year will delay her educational plans. Simone has been accepted to Pensacola Christian College in Florida, but she cannot attend unless she is a U.S. citizen.

These days, Simone's grandmother wakes up early each morning to send e-mails to government officials and media outlets to try to garner support for Simone's case.

"All we want is the rights of a U.S. citizen," said Davis, according to ABC.

"My choice to make an informed decision for the health of my child has been taken away," she added. "I have been like a crazy woman, I have been so upset about this. I am really in a panic. How can they call this America, the land of the free?"

"Where are my parental rights?" she asked.

Davis and Simone currently live in Port St. Joe, Fla., where Simone has resided since she was about 8.

Davis reportedly started applying for citizenship for Simone nearly 10 years ago.

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