Legislature Passes Bill To Delay Pertussis Vaccine Requirement
On Thursday, California legislators approved a bill (SB 614) that would give schools a 30-day grace period to enforce a state law requiring students entering grades seven through 12 to obtain a booster shot for whooping cough, or pertussis, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports Â (Magee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/14).
The legislation, by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), passed the Assembly with a 66-8 vote and passed the Senate with a unanimous 38-0 vote (Sanders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 7/14).
In September 2010, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signedÂ a law (AB 354) imposing the pertussis vaccine requirement (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/14). The mandate took effect July 1 (Benefield, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 7/14).
Last week, school officials started expressing concern about their ability to comply with the law, as thousands of students in year-round school districts started classes without having received the shot. Officials say widespread absences resulting from the requirement could lead school districts to lose attendance revenue.
SB 614 would allow schools to conditionally admit students who have yet to receive the pertussis vaccine.
However, 30 days after the start of classes, schools would need to start denying admittance to students unless they provide proof that they received the vaccine or a waiver signed by a parent (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/14).
SB 614 now is before Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has not taken a position on the bill ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 7/14).
In an opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times' "Opinion L.A.," Karin Klein of the Times' opinion staff writes that the 30-day delay of the pertussis vaccine mandate "makes sense, more sense than the original law." She adds, "How can schools make sure students are being vaccinated on time if they don't need the proof until the day they show up for school?" (Klein, "Opinion L.A.," Los Angeles Times, 7/13).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.