New bill in California to regulate vaccine exceptions

After making 2 amendments, a bill that would abolish the Californian parents’ option  to avoid their children’s school immunizations faces a state Senate committee that came close to rejecting it last week.

The bill’s authors proposed 2 amendments in a bid to win the committee support. First is to permit unvaccinated children to be home schooled with non-family or non-household members, and the second is to let students in a recognized independent-study programs to skip required vaccinations.

Although, Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, did not integrate a religious exclusion into the bill but they declared they were receptive to the idea.  Both senators were apprehensive that slackening the proposed constraints may not achieve the aim of boosting immunization for the protection of  the greater majority.

Allowed in 46 states, religious exemptions are at times used by parents who refrain from child immunization. A website  even conveys how to  religiously exempt legally even if they’re not so.

In Californian law, parents who do not want immunization for their children can opt out by simply citing “personal belief”, after getting a signature by health care provider as proof that they have received info regarding immunizations. Though, parents do not need a doctor’s signature, if personal belief is due to religion.

SB277 will  eradicate the personal-belief exemption, but permits children to be exempted from immunizations for medical reasons.

Public health officials say immunization rates must be least 90 % of the population, for preventing  the spread of diseases and protection of individuals who can not obtain vaccines due to illness or age.

The introduction of the bill was in response to a multi-state  outbreak of measles, which began last December which was traced back to Disneyland. A number of children who became infected were not properly  vaccinated, hence leading to the largest outbreak in more than twenty years. The state public health department said Friday that the measles outbreak was officially over.

But the triumph of the law has been alluded by adversaries of the senator’s current vaccine bill.

Jean Keese, a spokeswoman of the California Coalition for Health Choice,  a group which is opposed to SB277state wide said,  “This bill is not necessary.  California vaccination rates are rising, and personal-belief exemptions are going down. There is no crisis.”

West Virginia and  Mississippi and are the only 2 states that do not allow for  personal or religious exceptions, instead they allow only  medical professionals to approve an exemption for a child. In Mississippi, 97.5 percent of children entering kindergarten are immunized, Dr. Thomas Dobbs,  state epidemiologist with the Mississippi Department of Health said.

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