Different Kind of Vaccine Bill Surfaces

California health officials who have been working on getting more immunizations for very young children may get some help in the Legislature this session.

AB 1117, by Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), gets its first public airing today in the Assembly Committee on Health.

The bill directs the Department of Health Care Services to set up a program called the California Childhood Immunization Quality Improvement Fund, for which the department would need to submit a waiver application to CMS.

The immunization project for children under age 2 would be a five-year demonstration program. The funding would come from Medi-Cal managed care plans — on a volunteer basis — and would be used to pay providers and reward managed care plans that show improvement in vaccine numbers.  

DHCS officials also would be required to produce an independent assessment of the project’s efficacy.

As a public safety initiative, it is not expected to be as emotionally charged as other vaccination improvement bills in the Legislature this session.

SB 277, by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), has drawn fire from anti-vaccine parents. Several audience members needed to be escorted out of a hearing earlier this month. That bill would remove the “personal belief” exemption from childhood immunization requirements. It passed the Senate Health Committee and is on hold in the Senate Education Committee.

SB 792, by Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), is designed to prevent the spread of diseases such as whooping cough and measles by requiring daycare workers to be vaccinated against diseases that pose a risk to young children.

The bill in Tuesday’s hearing, to improve vaccination rates among young children, does not yet have a committee analysis report.

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