Preschool and day care workers in California will need to be immunized against common contagious diseases such as measles and whooping cough, according to a new proposed law that passed a Senate floor vote last week.
SB 792, by state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), is designed to protect young children in day care centers, Mendoza said. Some of the required vaccinations prevent illnesses that some children are too young to be immunized against, such as the flu.
“Children below [age] five are too young to be fully vaccinated,” Mendoza said. “Having the adults around them be vaccinated creates a community of immunity.”
State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Orange) stood in opposition to the bill.
“Just providing notification to the parents of the children that an employee or a volunteer has not had their vaccinations would be more advisable,” Moorlach said. “There should be some kind of notification as opposed to a mandatory vaccination.”
But Mendoza said notification might come too late.
“These kids are too young to be vaccinated,” Mendoza said. “They need the people around them to protect them.”
Day care workers can get an exemption with a letter from a medical provider — or in the case of influenza, just a written declaration declining the flu vaccine.
The legislation is one of three vaccination bills in the Legislature this session, along with SB 277 — by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) — which would remove the personal exemption for schoolchildren’s immunizations, and AB 1117 — by Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) — which would push the state to increase vaccination rates among younger children.
The Mendoza bill passed the Senate on a 34-3 vote and now heads to the Assembly.