California Parents saw the institution of a new vaccine mandate on Friday barring new students from entering or seventh graders from advancing in school, unless they have a list of shots required by the state. The new law is pushing some parents to move out of the Golden State.
Hundreds of parents from across the state protested, testified at capitol hearings, and pled with legislators not to pass SB 277, but were overruled by legislators. The new law prohibits previously allowed personal belief exemptions for parents who objected to one or more otherwise required school immunizations. The law applies to students enrolled in not only public but also private educational institutions.
A highly stringent medical exception is offered for those students whose doctor afford it to them. Without the tough-to-get clearance, children entering day care, kindergarten or seventh grade must have up-to-date vaccinations as determined by the state or a doctor-signed vaccine record showing a child is in the process of receiving the mandated shots.
Democrat legislators seized on a Measles outbreak believed to have broken out in Disneyland at the end of 2014, pushing the measure as a solution. Patient zero was never positively identified. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the strain was “genotype B3, which has caused a large outbreak recently in the Philippines, but has also been detected in at least 14 countries and at least six U.S. states in the last 6 months (1).”
U.S. public health officials declared measles eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. The CDC pinpoints measles cases each year in the U.S. to exposure to the disease in foreign countries. The December 2014 outbreak was ending before SB 277 passed in the California legislature.
The author of the bill, State Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) claimed Thursday that the bill would keep children safe from “dangerous, preventable diseases,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
Approximately 200,000 Californians however, signed a petition seeking to repeal the highly contentious law according to the Bee. That effort fell short of the over 365,000 signatures it needed.
The East Bay Times reported on several stories of parents choosing not to comply with the law and will either be moving out of the state, seeking a doctor that may grant a medical exemption or home schooling. Home schooling and non-classroom based independent study programs are the only options for those choosing to opt out of even one mandated vaccination.
One native California woman told the Times that she and her family will be moving along with their business out of state to Oregon which allows personal belief exemptions. A quote from the women indicated her opposition to the chickenpox vaccine. While the vaccine law was the last straw, the woman also cited the high cost of living, high taxes and an unfriendly business environment in the state as reasons for leaving. Another woman told the Times that she is looking at Idaho.
Only Mississippi and West Virginia also disallow any personal belief exemptions on vaccinations in the United States.
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