California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation outlawing a family’s personal and religious beliefs as reasons to exempt their children from school vaccinations.
As in most states, California had mandated vaccinations as a requirement for school entry decades ago to prevent childhood diseases, including polio, whooping cough and measles.
Pan introduced the vaccination bill after an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in December of previous year that infected more than 100 people.
Vaccines have saved many children’s lives, said Michaels, a professor of pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He add that while it was true no medical intervention is without his risk, the evidence show that immunization has powerful benefits and protects those in society. With Brown’s signature, California joined Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states in the country where medical exemptions are the sole legitimate option to avoid vaccination, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Opponents to the bill say that vaccines are unsafe and that it infringes on a parents’ right to choose whether to vaccinate their children.
The law signed Tuesday following emotional debates removes the personal belief and religious exemptions from vaccine mandates for school children.
Students who now have personal beliefs exemptions will not be kicked out of school, but will be allowed to continue enrollment until they enter the next grade span, as outlined in the law.
This isn’t about parental choice; it’s about public health.
Despite that, the bill passed through four legislative committees and survived votes in both houses. Parents can only send unvaccinated children to school if they have a doctor’s note.
State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) said in an email that the vaccination issue is a personal one, which should be decided by parents and pediatricians.
“The science is clear”, Pan said.
“As a mom, there’s nothing more important to me than making sure our kids are kept safe – especially when we have the means to protect them from preventable diseases”, Gonzalez said.
But others vigorously protested the measure, with thousands protesting at the state’s Capitol in the past weeks, according to the wire service.
“She will go to school”, the Sacramento mother told NBC Bay Area, with eyes filled with tears.