California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Landmark Bill for Mandatory Childhood Vaccinations
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill requiring all children in public schools to be vaccinated. The bill means that parents’ personal or religious objections can no longer provide cause for opting out.
The new law will require one of the strictest vaccination regimes in the country, and California is now one of only three states that does not permit nonmedical exemptions.
The push for mandatory vaccination gained momentum after an outbreak of measles that began last year at Disneyland and soon spread across California and several other states. The measure, which has sparked fierce debate among lawmakers, the medical community and parents’ groups, was approved by the California Assembly last Thursday in a bipartisan vote of 46 to 31.
Mother Jones reports:
Measles, a preventable but dangerous disease, has been on the rise in recent years due in large part to the increase in people claiming the exemption. Many of those infected were too young, or medically unable to get the vaccine. Public health officials expressed concerns that measles could become endemic again—putting everyone at risk—if vaccination coverage continued to fall.
The new law should close those vaccination gaps by requiring that all children enrolled in school be up to date on shots against 10 childhood diseases, unless a doctor determines they are medically unable to receive vaccines. Parents who decide against these mandatory vaccines would be forced to homeschool.
Vaccines are extremely effective at preventing illness and are championed across all health agencies, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the World Health Organization. Still, there’s still a large contingent of anti-vaxxers, and the legislation was hotly contested. The LA Times reports that Sen. Pan has received death threats and his foes have even filed for his recall.
Gov. Brown acknowledged how divisive the issue has become, but stressed how important vaccination is to keeping people healthy: “The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”
Read the rest here.
–Posted by Roisin Davis
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