State Senate Panel Tables Pair of Child Vaccination Bills
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week "turned away" two bills that would have required California children to receive vaccines for hepatitis A and bacterial meningitis before entering preschool or kindergarten, the Sacramento Bee reports. Although most scientists and lawmakers consider the vaccines effective, Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), chair of the health panel, questioned whether "there is a need to mandate their use -- and whether a legislative committee hearing is the best way to find out." The Bee reports that Ortiz is "among those who wonder whether the fast-paced and highly politicized world of the Capitol is the best forum for answering scientific and medical questions." In recent years, an increasing number of parents, activists and researchers have suggested that a link exists between vaccines and increased rates of asthma, diabetes, allergies and autism in children. The panel decided to hold a separate hearing on vaccines between legislative sessions and table discussion on the bills. According to Ortiz, the decision to "force" children to take a vaccine requires "careful consideration and more discussion than possible in committee hearings." The Assembly had approved the hepatitis A vaccine legislation (AB 182), sponsored by Assembly member Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), by a 76-1 vote and passed the pneumococcus vaccine bill (AB 1354), sponsored by Assembly member Anthony Pescetti (R-Rancho Cordova), on a 77-0 vote (Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 7/16).