A controversial bill was passed on Tuesday, mandating that more Californian children be vaccinated.
Abolishing most opt-out possibilities, the recently-passed bill no longer allows that children not be vaccinated because of their parent’s “personal belief exemptions”.
This measure, created by Democratic Sen. Richard Pan and Ben Allen must still go through the Assembly, though odds are high that it will be cleared and signed into law. Its appearance was sparked by a sudden measles outbreak at Disneyland.
Last December, 136 California residents contracted the disease and the situation represented the perfect trigger for the bill in question.
“Vaccines are necessary to protect us. That protection has been eroding,” Sen Pan. said, while pointing to the body of evidence attesting to the safety and efficiency of vaccination.
According to the bill’s stipulations, children are only exempt from vaccination in specific cases such medial conditions (for instance weakened immune systems). Additionally, if the curing physician considers vaccination inopportune, an exemption may be made.
The state hopes to increase immunization rates so that no citizen will have to contract vaccine-preventable diseases, especially now that the anti-vaccine craze has gotten so out-of-proportions.
Were the law to pass the Assembly and be signed into law, California would become the 33rd state to eliminate personal belief as an exemption motive in vaccinations.
Measure SB 277 mandates that all children receive the necessary immunizations before entering kindergarten. Hoping for a compromise, the bill’s authors limited the total number of mandated vaccinations to 10. Furthermore, the bill also excluded the requirement that parents be notified by their schools regarding immunization rates.
These minor compromises aside, there is one point where the bill becomes delicate. Due to the fact that over 13,000 children haven’t received the required vaccinations before first grade, the bill’s authors pledged to “grandfather in” these students.
This means that no vaccinations would be mandated until seventh grade for the children whose parents invoked “personal beliefs” when refusing vaccinations.
There is a loophole though. Beside the 13,000 Californian children who haven’t reached the seventh grade (and haven’t received vaccinations), there are also 10,000 who have. These children will most likely not be legally mandated to receive the vaccinations as per California State law.
Of course, massive controversy still surrounds the subject and vaccination opponents accused the state as being arrogant in imposing raising guidelines against parents’ wills.
“I don’t believe the crisis we have seen rises to the level to give up the personal freedoms we enjoy in a free country,” Senate Republican Leader, Robert Huff, said.
Image Source: modvive.com
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