On Thursday, the bill that makes vaccination obligatory for all children, regardless of their parents beliefs or life choices, has passed with a score of 25-10 in the California Senate. Senators Ben Allen and Richard Pan took the job of writing the bill upon themselves and now the bill is waiting to be reviewed by the State Assembly.
California is expected to become the third American state to make it a law, that all school children be vaccinated according to the CDC guidelines. That is, if the bill is accepted as a law.
Vaccines that enter the CDC guidelines are those against infectious diseases the likes of mumps, chickenpox, hepatitis B, polio, measles, rubella and diphtheria, all of which could cause severe complications if a child were to become infected.
The bill has fervent supporters in the medical field, who support the vaccination system and who have declared that vaccines are effective and safe. They also hope that through this law, the US will get back on the right path that leads to the eradication of these viral infections.
It is hoped, that the bill will be approved as a law before the new school year. This way, all children who have not yet received vaccinations will be immunized before they enter the school community.
Still, the bill states there are acceptable exemptions to the immunization law and those refer to children with medical reasons not to be vaccinated (allergies and immune deficiencies or disorders).
So far, experts have largely put the blame on California for the measles outbreak that took the US by storm. The measles virus, thought to be close to eradication in the US, made a huge comeback because of the large number of parents who refused to get their children vaccinated.
Parents whose children were too young to be vaccinated and who caught the disease, were desperate to get the situation under control and pressured California officials to take action.
The worst outbreak of measles to hit the US in the past 10 years, happened in December 2014, when 40 children caught the disease after visiting Disneyland. Most of the children affected had not received the recommended immunization.
Measles is highly contagious and it is transmitted through respiratory droplets, but there have also been registered cases in which the disease was airborne. The disease manifests itself like a common cold, but after the incubation period, conjunctivitis and skin rashes start affecting the body. As a complication to the disease, the infection may affect the brain of the child, causing encephalitis and this disease is often fatal.
In many parts of the world, such as Asia, Africa and Europe, measles is still a rather common childhood disease. Behind this fact lie reasons like religious beliefs, lack of vaccines available to the masses and a poor health care system.
Experts from the medical field, also say that the anti-vaccination movement has been a huge factor that allowed nearly eradicated diseases to make a comeback. Many of the caregivers who refuse to have their child vaccinated choose to do so because of the 1998 study that linked vaccination to autism.
Despite of the fact that the study was proven to be false and that doctors assure parents that vaccines are the best option for the health of their children, many parents still suspect that immunization will cause permanent damage to their child.
Image Source: collective-evolution