A bill proposed Wednesday in the state Senate would require daycare workers to be vaccinated against diseases that pose a risk to young children.
SB 792 by Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) is designed to prevent the spread of diseases such as pertussis (also known as whooping cough) and measles. California recently has seen substantial increases in the number of both diseases.
“These outbreaks are no joke,” Mendoza said. “Children that young don’t have the fully developed immune system, so they’re particularly susceptible to these diseases.”
In fact, whooping cough can be fatal. Three children in California died of the disease last year.
“These children, they’re not old enough to be fully vaccinated,” Mendoza said. “There is a great need to reach people on the front lines, the people taking care of our children, and make sure they do not pass infections and diseases to young children.”
The requirement would be similar to the current rule that California schoolteachers must get their tuberculosis test every two years, Mendoza said.
“If it’s a requirement in order to work with these kids, then you have to do that, if you want to work there,” he said.
Mendoza said he’s also looking at other groups of professionals who work with children, such as preschool teachers, for possible future legislation.
“We want to ensure kids are safe, so this is a great start,” Mendoza said. “These are people who have close and intimate contact with the kids, they do a lot of hygienic practices, they wipe their nose, teach them how to wash their hands, things like that. The risk factors here are too great with such young kids.”