Parents would no longer be able to use personal or religious beliefs as reasons to get out of those vaccinations, according to the L.A. Times.
Over the months that SB 277 has journeyed through the state Senate and Assembly, the governor’s staff has repeatedly said that he “believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered”.
Brown signed the bill, but directed state health officials to allow parents with religious exemptions avoid that requirement.
Opponents include Californians for Vaccine Choice, whose website asserts the law “would eliminate a parent’s right to exempt their children from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure”. Forcing parents to choose between vaccination and access to public or private education will create both fear and resentment, as well as socio-economic destabilization for many families. Children without medical waivers would have to place their children in home school or independent study. Those who wanted the option of not vaccinating their children have been lobbying lawmakers to kill the proposed legislation and have staged multiple rallies – including one Thursday. It would be only the third state, however, to deny exemptions based on religious beliefs.
When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is small opportunity for an outbreak. More than 130 cases, including some that infected children too young to be vaccinated, could be directly attributed to the Disneyland outing. There was a whooping-cough outbreak and a resurgence of the mumps (which then spread within the National Hockey League).
Dr. Luther Cobb, president of the California Medical Association, lauded the legislature’s vote.
In some parts of California, barely half of students in public schools are vaccinated against measles, after widespread concerns about possible side-effects from the jabs.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who voted against the bill, responded that the bill violated the rights of the parents, according to the LA Times. People look at that and go ‘Huh?’ We have some differences, we don’t agree on everything in life, but clearly we have common ground on this issue because it’s the right thing. Parents should be in the “driver’s seat” with their children’s health, she said.
Passing the law: California’s lower house passed a bill Thursday expanding compulsory vaccination. That much was expected, as is Monday’s pro-forma Senate vote to approve the bill again and send it to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
Law would give California one of the toughest vaccine regimes in U.S.