California SB 277 vaccine exemption bill passed by Senate

An important healthcare bill that abolishes “personal belief exemptions” for vaccinations was overwhelmingly approved by the California Senate on May 14 2015.

The measure, SB 277 was sponsored by California Senator Richard Pan MD, who was a target of violent threats by the antivaccine cult because of his support of this healthcare bill, and by Ben Allen, of Santa Monica. The bill was introduced after a outbreak of measles in December at Disneyland sickened 136 Californians, and it passed 25-10 after the two senators agreed earlier to compromises aimed at easing its passage.

The proposed California SB 277 vaccine exemption law would require children to be vaccinated before entering kindergarten. Medical exemptions are permitted, but exemptions based on personal and religious objections are not. That would make California one of only three states — the others are Mississippi and West Virginia — that doesn’t allow personal or religious exemptions to vaccine laws.

The bill will now go to the California State Assembly, where further hearings will be required. If it passes the Assembly, Governor Jerry Brown would have to sign or veto the new law. At each step, we can expect further

Why SB 277 is important

Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss recently wrote an article here about SB 277:

The more salient bill, at least so far, is California SB 277 vaccine legislation, which abolishes the personal belief exemption. The bill would leave intact the medical exemption: it makes no changes to it.  But it would mean that if passed as written, parents would not be able to send children to, public and private, or daycares, also public and private, without the required immunizations unless they are medically exempt.

Contrary to anti-vaccine claims, the bill does not remove informed consent and is not equivalent to forcing vaccines on parents. A doctor is still not allowed to vaccinate without parental consent or a court order. But a parent will not be able to impose on the other children in a daycare or school the risk they choose for their own child by denying her vaccines.

Under current law, even with the requirement to get a health provider’s signature that a parent had the risks and benefits of immunization explained, getting an exemption is very, very easy. A parent needs to fill a form, get a doctor, nurse, or qualified naturopath to sign that they got an explanation about risks and benefits (with or without actually giving that explanation) and get the exemption. Or check the religious exemption box on the form and get the exemption.

Some schools have very, very high exemption rates.

There is abundant evidence that higher exemption rates increase the risk of outbreaks (pdf). Those exemption rates directly put children at risk of disease.  Yes, the children left unvaccinated are at higher risk. But they can infect the too young (for example in daycares), children with medical problems that prevent vaccinating, other unvaccinated children, or the few that suffer vaccine failure.  By reducing herd immunity, they make the school a hotspot for outbreaks – decreasing its safety for everyone. They violate the rights of other parents to choose a disease-free, safe school for their children, and the right of children that are not theirs to health.

There’s not really a good way around it. Easy to get exemptions make schools more disease vulnerable and less safe. SB277 would make schools and daycares safer for the children in them – children of the majority that supports vaccinating, following the data and expert opinion.

Good news for the children of California. Very good news.

Key citations:

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor

Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!


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  • gardenlady

    Gee. if someone points out the safety defects in an automobile, you
    don’t call them anti-safety. Yet when they bring up the problems of the
    vaccine bill,
    it’s “anti-vaccine”. Furthermore, hidden from your
    readers is the fact that the vaccine injuries are in greater propensity
    and numbers on black babies and black children than white. Bad news for
    the black children of California. In fact, the article shows how the
    CDC covered up the damage so that people didn’t know, but only because
    of whistle blowers that this racism is coming to light.
    http://www.justicegazette.org/tuskegee-ii-sb277.html

    Furthermore,
    by the whistleblower CDC’s lead scientist Dr. William Thompson, the
    efficacy of the MMR vaccine is a hoax. You are excused for not knowing
    all this, you are not excused from not being willing to use the
    scientific method and question, research and find out the facts.

    • You don’t even understand the lie about the CDC whistleblower, so you can’t even pass along the lie correctly. This has been so debunked and mocked that it’s kind of disappeared from real intelligent folk. Hint hint.

      Great CDC Coverup–suppressing evidence that MMR vaccines cause autism?

      No, there are no greater injuries on “black babies,” but we all appreciate your pseudo-concern from a white privileged racist. Thanks.

      Finally, there are so few minor injuries for vaccines compared the vast health improvement of citizens it’s not close. Your ignorant strawman argument about cars is that dangers from cars are not balanced by benefits, other than getting from point A to point B easily.

      How did you get through life without an education. You must be fucking embarrassed.

      • gardenlady

        Well, did you even read the article? I had a very good laugh, unfortunately, at your hyperbole. Name-calling, “pseudo-concern” weakens your argument. You forgot your question mark on the second to last sentence.

  • Sandy Perlmutter

    ” qualified naturopath ” Wazzat? And why would this person be “qualified” to sign an exemption form? This is yet another good reason to have the new law. Good luck with getting it passed and signed! Where are the rest of the states on this? I live in New York, where there are quite a collection of granolas and holybolies getting exemptions in certain places.

  • Expect further what? That part didn’t come through.

    • SandraBCade

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      • Sandy Perlmutter

        Fucking spammer! Go to hell!

        • Spammers deserve to be in the same ring of hell as antivaccine cult spammers.