Experts Say California Vaccine Bill Could Prevent Future Outbreaks
UPDATE: Gov. Brown signed the bill on Tuesday.
The bill passed through the state Senate on Monday and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) (Horowitz, AP/U-T San Diego, 6/30).
For more on the bill's passage, see today's "Capitol Desk" post.
Details of Bill
SB 277, by state Sens. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach), would only allow children who have received vaccinations for certain diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, to be admitted to schools in the state.
The bill would allow exemptions for medical reasons.
In addition, the bill was amended to:
- Allow unvaccinated children to enroll in private home-schooling programs that serve multiple families, rather than programs that serve just one family;
- Permit such children to participate in independent study projects that are overseen by school districts but do not include classroom time;
- Remove a provision that would have required schools to inform parents of immunization rates; and
- Allow physicians to consider family histories when determining medical exemptions.
The bill also includes a provision that would give unvaccinated children with existing exemptions more time to comply with the rule (California Healthline, 6/26).
Experts Say Bill Could Stop Future Outbreaks
While opponents of SB 277 say it limits parental rights with the "false promise" of stemming the spread of disease, experts and stakeholders counter that evidence suggests the legislation could prevent future outbreaks.
Eric Kodish, a pediatric ethics and oncology specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said, "The combination of good law and good policy with face-to-face interactions with pediatricians will have an effect."
Meanwhile, Hannah Henry -- founder of Vaccinate California, a parental group that supports SB 277 -- said, "[W]hat this bill comes down to [is] leadership in public health and supporting evidence-based science" (AP/U-T San Diego, 6/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.