If an amended bill allowing some schoolchildren to temporarily avoid getting vaccinations for “personal belief exemptions,” clears legislation, thousands of non vaccinated children who have already entered first grade will be able to remain in school.
Senated Bill 277 mandates that children entering child care, kindergarten and seventh grade in California will need to receive vaccinations if they plan on attending school in California. In an effort to water down an original bill commanding that all students be vaccinated, the new legislation does not force unvaccinated children from second grade through sixth grade to be vaccinated.
Many parents fear that the compromised legislation will set up a dangerous situation, whereby children will be exposed to infectious diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
The “grandfather in” strategy, according to state Sens. Richard Pan and Ben Allen, will help promote a “herd immunity” and temporarily appease most parents who have already claimed PBE for their children.
Pan contends that modifying the bill with the proposed grandfather clause will improve its chances of passage. “It makes it easier to explain to my colleagues … to vote for this,” he said.
The Times Standard reported that over the last month before each SB 277 legislative hearing, a myriad of vociferous and angry parents have invaded Sacramento clamoring over vaccine side effects and complaining the bill would violate their parental rights.
The amended bill demonstrates that the protesting parents voices were heard, although some will still be unhappy with the compromised legislation.
Dorit Reiss, a professor and vaccine law expert at UC’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco assessed the situation. If the bill becomes law “it would still be a huge change in California — and in the nation.”