Paid workers and volunteers in day care centers will be required to get immunizations from whooping cough, measles and the flu, under a bill that passed an Assembly floor vote on Tuesday.
SB 792, by state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), already was approved by the Senate, which means it now needs only the technical concurrence vote in the Senate before it is sent to the governor for a signature. That concurrence could come as early as Wednesday, state officials said.
“Children under the age of five are one of the most vulnerable age groups for contracting infection and developing complications from these very serious diseases,” Mendoza said in a written statement, “so it is critical that we use all available methods to protect them.”
The legislation was prompted in part by an increasing incidence of whooping cough in California and by this year’s measles outbreak that originated in Disneyland and hit at least 131 Californians and spread to seven other states.
“One child’s death is one too many, especially when it may be preventable,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza pointed out the CDC declared measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000. But as immunization rates across the state have crept lower over the years, California has become more prone to measles outbreak if a traveler with the disease introduces it here, as was the case in Disneyland in December 2014.
Day care workers who cannot get whooping cough or measles immunizations for their own health reasons can be excused by their health care provider. For the influenza vaccine, the bar is a little lower — workers can submit a written declaration that they’ve declined the immunization.
In addition to those three vaccination requirements, day care workers also will need to show that they’ve been tested for tuberculosis, as well.
“Until they are fully vaccinated, children rely on those around them [to be vaccinated] to maintain community immunity,” said Assembly member Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), who introduced the bill on the Assembly floor Tuesday.
The bill passed on a 50-10 vote.