California SB 277 vaccine legislation protects children

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines (generally, but sometimes moving to other areas of medicine), social policy and the law. Her articles usually unwind the complexities of legal issues with vaccinations and legal policies, such as mandatory vaccination and exemptions, with facts and citations. 

Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

[pullquote]Wake up, and speak for protecting your children from the risk of disease a minority has been allowed to choose for the rest of us.[/pullquote]

Two bills are currently proposed in California that may dramatically affect vaccination rates. Anti-vaccine activists have mobilized against them. We, the majority of vaccinating parents, need to do the same, speak up and make our preferences known. Say clearly that we will no longer have a preventable risk of disease forced on our children, ourselves, and other family members and friends by a minority. And we can. 

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.

What are the choices facing parents? Currently, parents who insist on denying their children vaccines have one choice only: homeschooling by using an accredited tutor – hiring one or getting accredited themselves (California Education Code § 48224). Yes, it’s costly. But who says that being exempt from the legal requirements that apply to everyone else should be easy? And again: the cost of high rates of exemptions is making schools less safe for other children and their families. That is not justified.

I hope and expect that the bill will be changed to clarify that all home schoolers are exempt from vaccination requirements, leaving an out. That’s because I worry, as I said in the past, about the response of the extreme minority to a mandate without an opt-out – I worry they will resort to extreme measures like faking records or using untested, dangerous methods to “detox” their children.

Home schooling would still not be an easy choice for some families. But the fact that avoiding the requirement is hard is not a good reason to allow these parents to impose the costs of their error on other children and society at large. It’s bad enough that their own children have to pay the price of not being protected against disease. Other children have the right not to have that preventable risk forced on them. And hopefully, the bill will create a situation where herd immunity will protect vaccine-deprived children in the community from disease as well.

SB 792


This bill, California Senate Bill 792 (SB 792) (pdf), would forbid daycares – both home daycares and institutional ones – from employing people not immunized against influenza, pertussis and measles.  This bill fills a much needed gap: currently, children going to daycares are subject to immunization requirements – but workers are not, and a worker can easily transmit a disease to a child. It may be a good idea to extend the requirements to teachers, and to carefully consider, with expert input, the appropriate list of vaccines. But the idea – that childcare workers should be vaccinated as well – is a good one.

The Problem:


The majority of people support vaccines. The vocal anti-vaccine minority is exactly that: a minority. But because the benefits of vaccination are so obvious, many people don’t see a need to speak up, leaving the stage to a vocal, misinformed minority – possibly creating an impression the minority has more support than it does. What people need to do is speak up.

Don’t let a tiny extreme group continue to impose a risk you have not chosen on your children and yourself.

How can you make a difference?


  • Join – so they can send you notifications of events and how to help  (this list only reflects the current events).
  • Consider liking the relevant Facebook pages – Vaccinate California and Californians for SB277.
  • Call, email or visit senators – contact your State Senator directly.
  • Fax committees regarding your support for SB 277 – Health, Education and Judiciary.
  • Attend, if possible, the legislative hearings in Sacramento, in the Senate:
    • health committee, 4/8 at 1:30 pm
    • education committee, 4/15 at 9 am
    • judiciary committee, 4/21 at 1:00 pm
  • Speak up in every forum – online and in media. Don’t leave the stage to the anti-vaccine minority. Wake up, and speak for protecting your children from the risk of disease a minority has been allowed to choose for the rest of us.

Key citations:


Dorit Rubinstein Reiss
This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy and the law. 

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.
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  • Brent Green

    Does vaccines cause autism and other auto-iimune diseases…. Lets see. Over the past 10 years the “Vaccine Court” has paid out over 10 billion in compensation, on behalf of the drug companies, right out of the taxpayer pocket, for vaccine damages to patients, so whatever junk science exist to say otherwise I think the court over rules the BS debate. In otherwords, I got over 10 billion reasons proving they do…

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  • Tom Jones

    I suspect Pan and the Pharmaceuticals were looking for a reason to tighten vaccination laws. The little Disney land Measles outbreak was perfect. 150 people got the measles, no one died. The media did there part and turned it into a national crisis. If they have to make vaccines more mandatory, why not just do the measles. The fact they included Hep B and Hep A proves it is about money, not kids. Measles I can understand, but Diptheria? Haven’t we outgrown that, like small pox. I believe almost all polio cases in the country are now caused by the polio vaccine and partly with whooping cough.

    • Verna Lang

      Except the measles outbreak was not just confined to the US. A Quebec family that was unvaccinated because they belonged to a group opposed to vaccines brought back the infection with them and then shared it with other unvaccinated members of their group. The last time I saw a confirmed number of cases was 136 in March 2015. We are now just a single plane flight away from any other part of the world. Unvaccinated people are not just a local threat, but a global threat. We were lucky there were no deaths because international travelers can easily share their infection with the pockets of the unvaccinated that now exist throughout the world, like what happened in Quebec. If the number of cases were higher, we would have seen the deaths and permanent injury that we know will occur in larger outbreaks. We will still need to wait to see if there are any cases of Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which is invariably fatal, which can show up years later in the younger children that came down with the measles in this outbreak.

      • R T

        But measles is mild for the majority of people who do get it especially when the person is otherwise healthy and has medical care. I think statistically over 10,000 children have to get it for even one to die. Long term health complications are also rare. I just don’t understand the panic. I had measles as a child and so did my parents. It’s not that serious for the overwhelming majority of people and haven’t there been some studies that show it may lower the risk of contracting some cancers later in life? I’d much rather have new seeks than cancer, but that’s just me.

        • Verna Lang

          There was a 2004 review article done that summarized measles complications in the US from 1987 to 2000. They compiled information from over 65,000 cases where the age of the patient was known. There were 177 deaths, most of them children under the age of 5 and adults over age 30. The overall death rate was 3 per 1000. The hospitalization rate was about 19%, but went up to 26% and 27% in the under 5 and over 30 categories. You think a one in four chance of your baby or toddler ending up in a hospital bed with the most common complication of pneumonia is not serious? Watching your baby struggling to breathe is not something I would wish on anyone.

          • R T

            All that is proven by what you linked me to is that measles is only dangerous for people who are already immunodeficient, malnourished and have no access to medical care for secondary infections. It also says the death rate from measles in the United States had fallen dramatically long before the vaccine came along. Also, the 3 in 1000 death rate can’t be a constant since, in 1962 for example, there were over 500,000 measles infection and only around 400 death. This was before the vaccine was licensed. Considering how common measles once was, 65,000 seems like a small number to be studying. On another note, my niece died from cystic fibrous. I know what not being able to breath really looks like.

            • Verna Lang

              That article compiled the statistics from the most recent large outbreak that occurred in the US. Where in that article did you see any indication that the complications were only in the malnourished or immunodeficient? How did you jump to the conclusion that they had no access to medical care when the groups with the highest death rates had about 25% hospitalization rates? That outbreak, which peaked from 1987 to 1991 before tapering off, was also unusual because it infected a higher than usual percentage of children under 5 years. Prior to the vaccine, mostly school age children were the ones coming down with measles. Thanks to a drop in vaccination rates prior to the outbreak, the younger, more vulnerable children were the ones that were unprotected from measles compared to their older vaccinated counterparts. That shift alone may account for the higher death rate.

            • R T

              Did you read through the entire link you sent me to? There’s an entire section on why measles is a killer in those who are malnourished and have no medical care. It also says an increased death rate is linked to increased rates of HIV/AIDS cases. It says the rate of death had fallen dramatically before the vaccine was available due to better medical care and antibiotics. Maybe you linked me to the wrong article because we’re getting totally different impressions from what we are reading. Also, from what I could find the epidemic occurred in a highly vaccinated population so something else was going on there and another one

            • Verna Lang

              Yes, I did read through the entire article. The article discussed complications in both developed and developing countries. The sections that you chose to focus on were discussing malnutrition, lack of medical care and other factors that lead to much increased death rates in developing countries. If you focus on what happened only in the US in the time period being discussed in that paper: “During the past 13 years in the United States, the case-fatality rate has averaged 3 per 1000 reported measles cases (table 2). This increase is most likely due to more complete reporting of measles as a cause of death, HIV infections, and a higher proportion of cases among preschool-aged children and adults.” The paper concludes with a very strong recommendation of the measles vaccine. The death rate due to measles has fallen with better medical care, but that 3 per 1000 death rate was with better medical care during the last large outbreak. The low number of deaths you said occurred in 1962 may have been due more to the way deaths from measles were recorded rather than there were fewer deaths from measles. If the cause of a death in 1962 was recorded as pneumonia, rather than the measles that directly caused that fatal pneumonia, then the death rate from measles would be skewed to a lower rate. Antibiotics have been life savers, but as antibiotic resistant organisms grow in number, we may not be able to save as many patients with the complication of pneumonia as we did during that 1987-2000 time period where antibiotic resistance was a rare problem. We read the same paper, but you seem to have filtered it through an attitude that “It can’t happen to me or mine!” and I read it as a cautionary tale of what could happen if we let our vaccination rates drop and we have to hospitalize up to 25% of the most vulnerable age groups and we get to bury 3 out of every 1000 people who develop measles.

    • If Big Pharma wanted to increase profits, they would stop producing vaccines, and wait to supply the hospitals with all the products necessary to treat the hundreds of thousands of kids in NICU’s and PICU’s across the world. They’d be rolling in the cash generated because they’d make 100-10,000X more profit for each child visiting a hospital. I go long on every Big Pharma stock if your ignorant ideas actually became prevalent.

      But sadly for Big Pharma’s stock prices, 90-95% of kids are vaccinated.

      • Lucky Luke

        They can’t stop producing vaccines. Government is buying them. If they want to pass this law, then make pharma be liable for any damages. This law is giving a lot of power to pharma and government to do anything with your health. 2008, We got mandate health care. Now, mandate vaccinations. What’s next? Medicines shouldn’t be mandatory, because of side effects. If you have a better chance getting side effects than winning lottery. There must be options for people to choose, not the someone else make it for you and for your family. When Richard Pan said “It is for the safety of the society.” NO! Safety of my family goes first, then other people. This is not a communist country!

  • R T

    I know you keep pointing out this isn’t forcing medical procedures because there is still the alternative of homeschooling. However, I have a question for you and I would love an honest answer. If a bill was passed that DID require all children, without a medical exemption, to be fully immunized, would you support it? Would you support the enforcement of it to include removing children from the custody of their parents to be vaccinated by a doctor? I’m just wondering how far you would be willing to go on this issue to see all children immunized. Do you think parents who choose to delay vaccinations or selectively vaccine should be charged with neglect or have their children removed? I always wonder where someone like you would draw the line or if you don’t have a line at all? I would genuinely like to know if there is a point when you would say, “Okay, maybe this is going too far!”

    • I would absolutely support it. Oh wait, I am supporting it.

      Here’s the thing. I want children protected from vaccine preventable diseases, especially when parents are idiots. Parents do NOT have the right to put their children at harm. How ignorant and arrogant you are.

      • R T

        Well, at least you’re honest! I think you’re crazy, but at least you’re honest. The foster system has been proven to be a dangerous place for many children probably more than any childhood illness in America could ever be. Vaccines do have a risk, no matter how small, and they may not even result in protection at all. For this you would support seeing children ripped away from their families. Of course, that can’t happen because our foster system is stressed as it is, but it’s mind blowing you would support it anyway.

      • R T

        Don’t you think adults need to be fully vaccinated again at some point. I’ve been reading about how this is proving to be an issue as well maybe even more so than under vaccinated children.

      • no1uknow1

        to quote my republican friend from Orange County California, “if anyone tells me they’re going to try to give me a government mandated vaccine, I’ll take the needle and stab it into their jugular” this was from a guy who has no kids, he is LIVID over this law. I was so glad to find out not everyone is a brain dead “government-konws-best” sheep!

      • Jon Parker

        “Parents dont have the right to put thier children at harm”, but one of them has the right to end thier childs life without viewing an ultrasound because we’ve found pleanty of justification for that. Amazing to me how sacred the health of a child is once they are out of the womb.

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  • I hear the vigilantees are being organized to protect children from NAZI Richard Pan. I hope they carry lots of rope.

    • You apparently have no clue what a Nazi is. I do. My family does. You’re just an ignorant little pathetic man who hasn’t got the education of my left pinky finger. Sheesh.

      • Richard Pan and Toni Atkins are NAZI killing children with contaminated vaccines. Merck bribed Pan $95,000 and Atkins $90,000 to pass SB277 and increase profits by $47 BILLION. Gov Jerry Brown’s mafia makes children sick for profit.

  • Richard Pan you are a true NAZI because you will kill more children with contaminated vaccines in the next 6 months than “Machine Gun” Kelly and “John Dillinger” gangs did in their lifetime.

  • Pediatrician Richard Pan told
    America Vaccines are safe and do not cause Autism –
    Pan Lied To America and used California trickery
    to pass a law stating babies like Hannah Poling must be vaccinated by
    contaminated Merck vaccines that cause autism with screaming fits

    Vaccine Court Awards Hannah Poling $20 Million for
    her vaccine injury caused Autism with screaming fits

    A Doctor In One Wellness Visit Injected 9
    Contaminated Vaccines With 18,000 ngs Human Fetal 215 dsDNA Fragments Into
    Little Hannah Poling Turning Hannah Into A Noisy Vegetable! DO YOU HAVE $20
    MILLION For A Vaccine Injured Child By Autism With Screaming Fits. Richard Pan
    Says U Better I Sell Insurance Call Me!

  • Dr Theresa A Deisher PhD Founder CEO CSO of SCPI and AVM Biotechnology dropped a bombshell in her April Newsletter. Merck vaccine manufacturer puts 2,000 ngs of human fetal 215 dsDNA fragments in each varivax vaccine dose. These human fetal 215 dsDNA fragments when injected into humans never leave they remain dormant or merge with the DNA of person vaccinated in a process named Insertional Mutagenesis and the denovo mutations may trigger any of the 157 autoimmune diseases like Diabetes Type I that require immunosuppressant medication costing $1,200 per month to live and increase your risk of any of 109 cancers. If the human fetal 215 dsDNA fragment remains dormant it can remain a threat for over 30 years. Dr Deisher is treating a 13 year old boy that had been vaccinated at age of 5 and the dormant 215 dsDNA fragment triggered aggressive Burkitt’s lymphoma cancer that could kill the boy if treatment fails. In other words every person vaccinated since 1995 is a walking timebomb. There is no known way to prevent this timebomb from exploding into a fatal disease once you are vaccinated. STOP ALL VACCINATIONS AND TEST ALL VACCINES FOR HUMAN FETAL 215 dsDNA FRAGMENTS AND RETROVIRUSES THAT CAUSE CANCERS BY AVM BIOTECHNOLOGY. PLEASE DO NOT TURN YOUR FAMILY INTO A TIMEBOMB!

  • km

    Sadly, vaccine makers have no incentive to change their ways. They make huge profits but are totally protected from lawsuits because Congress granted them immunity in 1986. We the taxpayers are paying for the damages they are causing. Sound familiar? Privatizing profits while socializing risk!! If you want to change this, please sign this petition on

    Kindly pass this on to everyone you know. Together, hopefully, we can make a difference!

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  • TellItAsIs99

    I’m for informed consent with the right to refuse any vaccination or drug. Any law or process that denies this basic human right is in violation of the US Constitution and international law as well as the Nuremberg trial judgements that found Nazi doctors guilty of administrating unconsented deadly drugs and which included a Euthanasia program.
    Another deadly and controversial treatment is the mandatory Russian roulette stroke drug. The clot-buster drug for heart and lung blood clots has proven test trial and community hospital use results but for a non-life threathening ischemic clot stroke it’s just the deadly opposite. Brain cells die within minutes of being deprived of blood in an ischemic stroke and the drug is being given hours later in the ER. Stroke clot-buster drugs have a history of deadly failed test trials and the 1995 NINDS trial claiming a possible long term recovery benefit is highly controversial. Stroke TPA does not save a person’s life but can end it with it’s risk of a brain bleeding hemorrhage.
    The NINDS stroke TPA trial data showed a 16% deadly hemorrhage rate for patients over 80. Europe does not approve approve stroke TPA for those over 80 but here in the US there is no such restriction. Protocol errors and BP management failures are both common and make the deadly hemorrhage risk even higher. And recent AHA Guidelines for Acute Stroke which hospitals follow state that stroke TPA can be given without consent. There should be a pre-stroke consent decision before stroke TPA is given. This is a basic patient right to consent.
    There are other safer treatment alternatives like physical therapies and low risk drugs like Embrel. Search: AAEM TPA position, The NNT TPA stroke, or in ER emergency blogs for the stroke TPA drug controversy.

    • Dr Theresa A Deisher PhD Founder CEO CSO of SCPI and AVM Biotechnology dropped a bombshell in her April Newsletter. Merck vaccine manufacturer puts 2,000 ngs of human fetal 215 dsDNA fragments in each varivax vaccine dose. These human fetal 215 dsDNA fragments when injected into humans never leave they remain dormant or merge with the DNA of person vaccinated in a process named Insertional Mutagenesis and the denovo mutations may trigger any of the 157 autoimmune diseases like Diabetes Type I that require immunosuppressant medication costing $1,200 per month to live and increase your risk of any of 109 cancers. If the human fetal 215 dsDNA fragment remains dormant it can remain a threat for over 30 years. Dr Deisher is treating a 13 year old boy that had been vaccinated at age of 5 and the dormant 215 dsDNA fragment triggered aggressive Burkitt’s lymphoma cancer that could kill the boy if treatment fails. In other words every person vaccinated since 1995 is a walking timebomb. There is no known way to prevent this timebomb from exploding into a fatal disease once you are vaccinated. STOP ALL VACCINATIONS AND TEST ALL VACCINES FOR HUMAN FETAL 215 dsDNA FRAGMENTS AND RETROVIRUSES THAT CAUSE CANCERS BY AVM BIOTECHNOLOGY. PLEASE DO NOT TURN YOUR FAMILY INTO A TIMEBOMB!

  • LeAnn Lundberg

    I am pro-vaccine. However, taking away a parent’s right to make medical choices for their child is not the right approach. Democracy is about education and discussion. If we take away a parent’s fundamental right to make medical choices for their child, what’s next? And who’s next? Ignore your rights, and they will go away.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I think there are two problems with this claim. The first is that this isn’t taking away the parent’s rights to make medical choices for the child. The doctor still can’t give the vaccine without consent – unless there’s a court order. What it does do is impose consequences that prevent the parent from sharing the risk. To remind you, to take another example, we have laws in many states that limit the ability of people with epilepsy to drive – unless they take seizure controlling medication. They don’t have to take the medication – the medical choice is still their’s; but if they decide not to take it, they can’t drive and impose the risk on others. Here too: the parent can decline vaccines – but not send the child to school to infect others.

      More fundamentally, parental rights are their for a reason. Unlike your rights to your person, your rights to your child are there to protect the child’s interests – the child is a trust, not a property. States can and do limit parental rights when the parent risks the child. You can’t starve your child.

      The difference is that preventable diseases are under enough control that the risk isn’t immediate enough to justify direct coercion. But the state can act to regulate and make it harder not to vaccinate. This is what this does: it’s not an order forcing the parent to vaccinate. It just makes not-vaccinating more burdensome.

      • R T

        I think you are taking away choice when you make the alternative so difficult it’s near impossible. With the bill as it stands, children who are enrolled in homeschool satellite programs through public and private schools will no longer be eligible to attend those programs. Even though those children are already schooled at home they would no longer be eligible to enroll because they are still considered enrolled students of that particular school. Also, your comparison of an adult being limited from driving if they don’t take medication is ridiculous. A right to an education is covered by the Constitution of the United States, the right to drive is not. You should really figure out a better analogy. In addition, when you allow one small minority group of people to be forced into medical procedures, and extreme coercion is still a form of forcing whether you want to admit that or not, you are really allowing a door to be opened that can not be closed. You may think it won’t affect you, but really can’t know what the future hold if America sets back and allows this sort of unprecedented law to stand. Childhood illness do not present such a public risk in a first world country that anyone should be comfortable with this law, no matter where you stand on the issue of immunizations. The bottom line is immunization can and do cause a range of reactions in some individuals ranging from mild to death. This is undeniable fact. Childhood illness are not lethal and do not cause life long problems in the majority of children who get them. Another undeniable fact. Immunizations are not 100% effective in 100% off the population. Our species has not only survived, but flourished even though immunization didn’t exist until very recently. I’m sure the families of children lost to childhood illnesses were devastated and missed them greatly, but Nature hasn’t missed them. All of these facts, are enough for me to say immunizing your children should remain the choice of the parents. If immunizations were completely safe, worked 100% of the time and we had been on the verge of human extinction, due to these particular childhood illnesses, before the invention of immunization I would be all for literally forcing everyone to be fully vaccinated. since that’s not the case I have to speak out against the direction this law would take our country in as far as personal freedoms are concerned. I personally will move from California if this bill passes and take my very successful 28 year old family business with me and not because I’m against immunizations, but because I think it will only represent a symptom of deeper sickness in California that is eating away at a man’s fundamental right to make decisions for himself. I do not believe this tiny majority of people who, for the most part, only delay vaccines or selectively vaccinate pose a greater risk to my well being than the laws that would force them to comply with and submit to medical treatment against their will. Again please don’t try to say they aren’t be forced, if you make the alternative not only hard, but completely prohibitive for the average family, you are forcing them.

        • Dorit Reiss

          The current bill exempts several options – including homeschooling as a private school or independent study. The fact that you want a different choice doesn’t mean there’s no choice: the bill doesn’t have to offer you your preferred choice. So no, these parents aren’t forced: they may face a hard choice – as many who are, for example, poor do all the time, but they have a choice.

          There is no right to education under the federal constitution, actually. There is one under California’s constitution, but it has never been used to prevent the state from regulating for health and safety – a compelling interest. In fact, the opposite is true: health and safety are preconditions.

          Because vaccines are not 100% effective we should strive for as high as rate as possible. And yes, the human race survived pre vaccines. Many children, however, didn’t. I am unwilling to dismiss children who died from disease.

          Your choice where to live is your own, of course.

          • R T

            Excuse me, the right to an education is protective by the constitution of California, but driving is not! I’m not really following your logic with the choice issue for schools. I think it’s a travesty the poor in the US have no access to a proper education either, I wouldn’t really use that as an example of why it’s okay to force unvaccinated children into subpar educations. The vaccine rate in CA is over the recommended coverage rate of 90% and just a year ago the bill requiring parents to receive educational counseling before claiming exemption was passed into law. Since then, vaccine rates have risen! The law is working so why the need to further regulate the lives of the people without even giving the new law a chance? As far as dismissing the lives of children, the death rate from childhood illnesses was very low even in the worst of times. Many children died because so many got the illnesses, but the rate of death was so low. 3 to 4 million measles cases and only 400 deaths. Polio has a 2 to 5% rate of death and these rates are when there are no vaccinations. The rate of paralyzation is less than 1%. With a over 90% immunizations it’s not possible for enough people to become infected to lead to widespread injury and death. Since death and injury on a wide scale are not possible with the high vaccinations rates in California, then you are dismissing the lives of children who die or are injuries by vaccines. Yes, it’s rare but it happens so I think you should acknowledge these children matter too. Of course, it’s so rare I guess you could be okay with it and regard it as necessary for the greater good. However, perhaps the children who passed away from childhood illness did so for the greater good as well. Over all I just don’t understand why anyone could think the teeny, tiny percentage of people in CA who choose to delay their children’s immunizations or do selective immunizations are such a threat to public health these children must be forced into completely subpar educations. I can not understand how any one could support the removal of individual choice over this. How anyone can believe this bill is a step in the right direction for our state is beyond me.

            • Dorit Reiss

              The right to education is guaranteed by the CA constitution. But that does not mean the state cannot regulate for health and safety. The bill does not prevent the poor from access to proper education;
              A. As long as parents protect their children from disease, there’s no limit.
              B. Most of the non-vaccinating parents are rich. This is a white privilege phenomenon by and large, though there are limited exceptions.
              C. The bill offers options.
              D. The new outbreaks highlight that our rates are not high enough.
              E. The fact that some parents would choose homeschooling over protecting their children from disease is not a good reason not to act to protect others. It’s sad that some children are denied vaccines. It’s also sad if those children then have a more limited range of educational options. But this bill is a compromise that actually respects parental choice, by not forcing parents to vaccinate: you can still leave your child unvaccinated. You just can’t impose the risk you force on your child on others.
              F. It’s ironic to hear anti-vaccine activists, who fought tooth and nail against AB2109, suddenly praising it.

            • R T

              I did not and do not oppose AB2109. I want to make that clear. I think it’s a compromise that can be lived with. It also worked, evidenced by an increase in vaccination rates, and would continue to work if allowed more time. It helps to keep immunization rates where they should safely be and does not infringe on the rights of children to a adequate education and does not open the door to over regulation of other facets of life in CA. AB 277 takes things too far. I think if it does pass it will be embroiled in legal challenges for years to come at a cost CA can not afford at this time. We have some much more serious issues that need to be focused on and addressed Including our horrible drought and dwindling water supply and immigration. Focusing instead on a few well to do families not vaccinating on schedule is wasting time and money!

            • bilingualmom

              B. “Most of the non-vaccinating parents are rich. This is a white privilege phenomenon by and large”. The only people I’ve met in this fight so far are lower income and middle class families, actually, and I’ve met quite a few at this point. Many families are making a lot of financial sacrifices to fight this bill, as this is pretty much a grass roots effort. For the most part, the big money seems to be behind those with interests in passing this bill. I’m sure there are some rich people who oppose the bill, however, because this is not about what social class you find yourself in, but rather about parents who have found out the hard way that vaccines can affect some children differently. Vaccine injuries happen to all kinds of families of all different backgrounds.
              C. The bill currently offers two options. (And remember, the bill’s author originally didn’t want to give us ANY options, the options are only there because we stood up against him)
              D. And if this bill had been law a few months back, would the scenario at Disneyland have been any different?
              E. It’s also sad that some children’s bodies do not react well to vaccines, yet no one wants to acknowledge that truth.
              F. I’ll give you that, I also find it kind of ironic, but I can understand why many fought it. My personal opinion is that most people who are choosing not to vaccinate don’t mind at all having to have a one time “conversation” with their child’s doctor about vaccinations, as long as the doctor is respectful about the parents’ ultimate choice. I think a lot of people fought against AB2109 because they realized that newer parents and parents who blindly place their trust in doctors without educating themselves, would not actually be getting “informed consent” since most doctors frankly have not done enough research themselves to be able to discuss things like what ingredients are in vaccines, which vaccines are more effective than others, possible side effects, genetic dispositions that may be reason for caution and giving less vaccines at a time, etc. I’m sure that those who opposed AB2109 were also concerned that it was only setting the scene for more legislation that would strip parents of the right to make medical decisions for their child. And boy were they right, because here we are today with SB 277. Which if it passes, will also make it easier to introduce yet even more legislation to strip us of more parental rights. So today I wouldn’t say they are praising AB 2109, so much as showing you that you wanted less personal belief exemptions, and you got them. So why is there a need to keep legislating away our rights?

            • Dorit Reiss

              B. The evidence is that non-vaccination is more common among middle class and up. As to Grass Roots – the CA effort is funded in part by Health Choice. Many of the witnesses are flown from out of state. Anti-vaccine organizations certainly have other funding.
              In contrast, the grass roots California effort just started fund raising efforts; until now it was volunteer funded. As to supporters – note that they include medical associations, the California PTA, and school boards, all speaking up – because they care about children’s health.

              C. The bill offers two very broad options.
              D. Possibly given that the evidence is it spread to nearby communities. But a few months may have been too soon to revive herd immunity after years of anti-vaccine misinformation has been damaging it – might need a few years to undo the harm.
              E. Everybody acknowledges that vaccines can have serious side effects. Luckily, the evidence is that they are extremely rare – and don’t, for example, include autism, allergies, and SIDS, or some of the other claims.
              F. Why would a doctor be able to discuss ingredients rather than actual risks and benefits of the whole vaccine? The anti-vaccine activists fight any bill about vaccines. Including education requirements. Including, judging by NVIC’s portal,

            • bilingualmom

              B. I see that you’ve changed your statement from saying most are rich, to now most are middle class and up. I think you may find that selectively vaccinating or choosing not to vaccinate is more common among educated parents, and probably less common among immigrant parents who have language barriers or parents who don’t have great reading skills, as researching information about vaccines on your own and wading through all the information is not particularly easy. But your original statement that most non vaccinating parents are rich was way out of line with reality. And as I said, vaccine injuries don’t discriminate by social class.
              As to a witness being flown in from out of state, we are in a desperate fight to protect our children’s education and our family economies. Why wouldn’t we ask the best witness to come in to testify for our cause? I’m not sure how that is relevant. Unless we have a different understanding of what “witness” means. I think you are referring to the experts – each side only gets a handful- who get to give testimony at the hearings. Or do you mean the hundreds of people lining up to oppose the bill during the public comments section of the hearing? Because that would be patently untrue. And we are definitely way behind the game in funding compared to the organizations supporting this bill, but many people are donating whatever they can because they know that if this law passes, they will be unable to work. So it is worth making some financial sacrifices now.
              E. This is the problem – they cannot be as rare as claimed. I’m not saying they are common, either, but there are thousands of parents out there whose child had a medical event that they believe is connected to a vaccine. This is why we need to pass a law mandating doctors to report any medical event that happens within 4-5 days of a vaccination, or face some sort of financial repercussion. Because right now many doctors don’t report them, and/or brush them off as “coincidences”. That is an awful lot of coincidences, and it’s funny how you will hear the same details over and over again from different parents. But anyone even suggesting that there may be a connection is immediately shut down. I find it interesting that you mention SIDs, as I think this is definitely a medical event that needs to be more thoroughly researched in relation to vaccines. My own son started having seizures within 24 hours of being vaccinated, only I thought that his blue lips meant he was cold, as they only lasted a few seconds and it was wintertime. Then two and a half days later he finally collapsed and stopped breathing. I thank God that he was not napping at the time, because guess what? I would have gone in to wake up my baby and found him dead. And then his death would have been diagnosed as SIDs, since there is no evidence of the seizures after the fact. Every time I hear about another SIDs child in our community, I can’t help wondering if the child had been vaccinated 3-4 days beforehand.
              F. My point is that most doctors cannot actually discuss the risks and benefits of a vaccine because the only thing they learned about vaccines was HOW they work in the body, that they are “safe”, and that any risks outweigh the benefits. They SHOULD know about the ingredients in a vaccine, as some children genetically may not be able to handle the ingredients as well as others, or have allergies to an ingredient, etc. Doctors SHOULD take into consideration an immediate family member’s reaction to a vaccine when recommending vaccination for a child, just as they would take family history into account in other situations. Doctors SHOULD know about the latest studies, such as the 2013 FDA study showing that baboons who were vaccinated for pertussis did not get sick themselves, but did carry the bacteria that causes it in their airways for up to six weeks and were able to infect other animals. Don’t you think a doctor should know that, before suggesting that a mother of a newborn vaccinate her other child with Dtap? I do. Doctors also can’t really discuss risks versus benefits of vaccines honestly, because we are not tracking adverse events in a consistent, honest way.

            • Dorit Reiss

              B. Middle class and up = well off. Privileged. I agree that immigrant parents are less likely to vaccinate: they understand the risks of diseases are real and are less likely to think they can second guess experts with years of training. or less likely to browse the internet and self-diagnose a child with autism or allergies as having a vaccine injury.

              But the evidence is still that anti-vaccine parents are well off. And not all of them – or even most of them – believe their child was vaccine injured.

              The point about witnesses flown in is that that takes funding – and that funding was provided by those out of state, well funded organizations.

              E. Belief isn’t evidence. It’s sad when parents believe, against the evidence, that allergies or autism are caused by a vaccine. It’s bad for them, living with guilt and anger. It’s bad for the children that may be subjected to untested, potentially dangerous, often abusive biomed treatments because of that belief – and who hear they’re damaged (who tells a child she’s damaged? Children aren’t cars). And it’s bad for other children that may be deprived from vaccines because of those stories. but that doesn’t change the evidence – that serious vaccine injuries are super rare. After is not because, and doctors are right not to pretend something is a vaccine injury just because a parent believes it is.

              SIDS has been investigated – and is not caused by vaccines. Nor are seizure disorders, as opposed to febrile seizures, caused by any fever and generally harmless in the long term. On SIDS:

              Vennemann MM,
              Höffgen M, Bajanowski T, Hense HW, Mitchell EA. Do immunisations reduce the
              risk for SIDS? A meta-analysis. Vaccine. Volume 25, Issue 26, 21 June
              2007, Pages 4875-4879.

              MM, Butterfass-Bahloul
              T, Jorch
              G, Brinkmann
              B, Findeisen
              M, Sauerland
              C, Bajanowski
              T, Mitchell
              EA. Sudden infant death syndrome: No increased risk after immunisation. Vaccine. Volume 25, Issue 2, 4
              January 2007, Pages 336–340.

              R, Schlaud
              M, Poethko-Müller
              C, Vennemann
              M, Fleming
              P, Blair
              PS, Mitchell
              E, Thompson
              J, Hecker
              H. Reanalyses of case-control studies examining the temporal association
              between sudden infant death syndrome and vaccination. Vaccine. 2012
              Mar 16;30(13):2349-56.

              F. Doctors can discuss the risk of benefits – they follow the evidence. The fact that they don’t uncritically buy into anti-vaccine claims that vaccines cause things that the evidence shows they don’t makes them more qualified to discuss this, not less.

            • bilingualmom

              B. I looked at your study, and just so you know, $75,000 for a family with children is California does not equal rich (which was your original statement). Not in a place where the median home price is $440,000. A three bedroom apartment typically rents for $1700 in the city I’m from, and it’s not even San Francisco (the most expensive one in California). Even $100,000 a year isn’t rich here either, not with those housing costs. So I guess we can agree on middle class, if we are to trust the statistics in your one study. As I said before, I think you will probably find that many selectively vaccinating or non vaccinating parents tend to be well educated, and you will probably find more educated parents in the middle class than in families of a lower socioeconomic status. Although certainly there are people of all backgrounds fighting SB 277.

              It does take money to pay for a flight for a witness, and I don’t honestly know where that money came from, but $500 for a flight and another $200 for a hotel is not exactly earth staggering quantities of money. And I insist, this fight is mostly a grass roots one. Opponents of SB 277 have raised way more than that in a single day with individual donations of $20-$100 to help pay for transportation to get up to Sacramento. Individuals are paying for postage and copy expenses for fliers out of their own pocket, gas out of their own pocket, driving all night to get to Sacramento and driving all night to get back to avoid missing more work and having to pay a hotel. People are making real sacrifices because this issue is so important. And we will continue to do so.

              E. You are right, belief isn’t evidence, but when so many parents have the same thing to say, it is likely that there is some truth to what we are saying, don’t you think? Just because the science has not caught up yet with what is happening, does not mean it isn’t. All I personally want is for people to acknowledge that we may be right. And since the argument that we are crazy and our kids aren’t actually injured by vaccines always goes in tandem with the statement “there isn’t any evidence”, I want to propose a bill that will require doctors to track serious medical events that occur within 4 days or so of vaccination, with penalties for those doctors who do not report them. I don’t think you can say there isn’t any evidence, until we are actually actively recording all medical events that happen near vaccinations, and right now we are not.

              You claim that seizure disorders are not caused by vaccines. The fact is, we do not know for sure, and much more research needs to be done in this area. In fact, my son’s neurologist recently gave him a medical exemption from the three vaccines he received when his seizures started, because (and these are his own words) “We do not know if there was a cause/effect relationship of those specific vaccines or whether he was predisposed to having seizures and somehow the seizure threshold was lowered by receiving those vaccines, although he did not have a fever.” This same neurologist does believe very strongly in the value of vaccines, so he is not going to give my son an exemption to any others, and so I may very well be one of the families homeschooling next year and struggling to pay the bills. I don’t think I should have to experiment and give him other vaccines to see if they have no effect on him, or if they cause his seizure disorder to get worse, because once it is done, it’s done. And in my opinion, even if it turns out he was genetically predisposed to seizures and the vaccines were just a trigger and not the cause of the seizures, kids like him should still not have to get vaccines if their parents are not comfortable with it. After all, seizures are not good for their brains! My son has learning delays, which of course we’ll never know the cause of either, but….I certainly don’t want to risk more problems.

              This is another point we have been trying to make, that we need to do more research to determine WHY certain children react the way they do, and then have doctors do pre-screening to help avoid kids getting injured from vaccines. And while you may claim that my son is just a story, the facts are that he did not have seizures from birth until several hours after he got those three vaccines at 5.5 months. Another fact is that the seizures caused him to collapse 2.5 days after the vaccination and to stop breathing. Another fact is that the only thing that alerted us to his collapse was the fact that he was in my arms at the time. If he had been napping at the time, he DEFINITELY would have been labeled a SIDs case. Because there is no evidence after the fact, at least with the type of seizures my son has. The MRI he had didn’t show anything unusual. There would not have been any explanation for his death. We need to continue to research this.

          • bilingualmom

            Yes, the current bill gives two options. But let’s not forget – as you know very well – that the original bill didn’t have any options at all. While they didn’t spell out the consequences in the original bill, what would have happened to a parent who refused to comply in order to protect their child? Would CPS have taken away those thousands of kids? They have certainly taken kids away for a lot less in several cases in the media recently where parents dared to take their child to get a second opinion at another hospital. The amendments only happened because of our consistent pressure on the entire legislature, and due to a few brave senators willing to stand up against that kind of intrusion and traumatization of California families. But we have not forgotten the original intentions of the bill’s author… and if we let this pass, what are the odds that in a year or two we will see another try for a bill more similar to the original one? Hmmmm. You state that you are unwilling to dismiss children who have died from disease. Yet you are perfectly willing to dismiss children who have been injured and/or died from vaccines? I’m not saying vaccines are bad. I can see both sides of the vaccination issue. But I’m tired of our children being brushed aside in the eagerness to vaccinate everyone for the “greater good”. Our children’s lives matter too. And please, I don’t want to hear that a child who has truly been injured can just get a medical exemption. First of all, many injuries are hard to prove, but that does not mean that they didn’t happen. We need to do more research – transparent research, not funded by the companies producing the vaccine type research – and doctors need to stop trying to shut parents up with the old, tired excuse that it is all just a “coincidence”. It should be the law that doctors have to report any serious medical event that happens within 4-5 days of a vaccination. It’s the only way we’ll start to know what is really happening or not happening. Second, some kids may get partial exemptions, but why should we have to choose between either experimenting on our child to see if the other vaccines cause him to react like the first ones did, or letting our family languish in poverty due to me having to stay home with our child (as I need to work)?

            • Dorit Reiss

              The effort to tighten school immunization requirements is to protect children, not the opposite. And nobody suggests or tries to take children or force vaccinate them – which, by the way, would be constitutional. Just, in my view, too coercive, absent unusual circumstances.

              Federal law does require doctors to report serious adverse events to VAERS – and there are plenty of studies of vaccine harms. That’s how we know they’re very, very rare.

            • bilingualmom

              And yet CPS taking custody of kids whose parents disagree with a doctor’s medical decision HAS happened. In fact, there is a case happening right now in California – look up Kennedy May Willey. My question was, which you still haven’t answered, what would the consequences have been for a parent if the original bill had not been amended and there was NO “opt out”? If a law is broken, what happens? Something would happen, that’s for sure. You may think it is too coercive… I’m glad to hear that… but we all know that if you break the law, there is a consequence. I think it is very logical to assume that the next step would have been to get CPS involved, for the “good” of the child.

              I did see that the law supposedly requires doctors to report serious adverse events to VAERS, and yet they often don’t do it. There is no consequence, that I can see, if they don’t. My son’s pediatrician wasn’t going to do it. And frankly, I never would have known about VAERS if it hadn’t been for my sisters, who had already started investigating vaccines due to their own children’s reactions to vaccines. I had to make my own report. So just how do we know if serious adverse events are happening, if doctors often don’t report events to VAERS, and parents don’t even know about its existence? And then when parents do make reports, if they happen to find out about VAERS, critics say that since the parent reported the event they don’t know if it really happened or not and that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. This is why we need to pass a law requiring doctors to report serious adverse events that occur within 4-5 days of vaccinations, and this time attach a serious financial consequence if they don’t do it within a reasonable time frame, plus add an education piece so that parents actually know that doctors are supposed to do that so they can keep their doctor accountable for getting it done and/or set the financial fine in motion if he/she doesn’t do it.

          • Lucky Luke

            Not everyone can’t afford homeschooling. Single parent and low in-come parents. Not everyone poops out of money!

            • Dorit Reiss

              Many parents of immune compromised children can’t afford to keep them home for years because others don’t vaccinate.

            • Lucky Luke

              There are assistance programs for those people. But no choice for other parents.

            • Dorit Reiss

              There are independent studies programs for public schools – and choice for those parents, but not for those of immune compromised. If a parent chooses to deny their own child protection from disease, it’s fair to limit their ability to impose that risk on others.

            • Lucky Luke

              You said there is no risk in vaccinations? Then you need to go to CDC website and educate yourself. I believe in vaccinations. I will decide when and what to put in my kids, not the government.

              Why HIV/AIDS people can go to school? HIV/AIDS could affects everyone not just immune people. Oh! Wait, there is no money to make in it. HIV/AIDS increased in Indiana 150% last year. Should they ban those people from public places?

              They don’t need this law, what they need to do is educate people. Require public institutions provide informative about vaccinations and health, and required parents to attend if they want their kids to stay in school. Then let them decide.

            • Dorit Reiss

              No, I did not say there is no risk to vaccination. It may be a good idea to make sure you address what people actually say. Nothing is 100% risk free – but serious harms from vaccines are extremely rare: the risk is small, and the risk of not vaccinating is larger. When you don’t vaccinate, you are choosing the bigger risk for your kids.

              SB277 allows you to continue to do that. But it prevents you from forcing that risk on others’ people children and families, because they have rights too.

              The risk of HIV transmission in school setting is super low. The risk of measles transmission isn’t. And parents with children with HIV didn’t choose the risk for their children, the way non-vaccinating parents did. Those are pretty big difference.

              Information is already available. Some parents continue to reject the evidence. Allowing them to put others at risk is problematic.

            • bilingualmom

              Immune compromised children could actually be at risk when they are around recently vaccinated children. For example, a 2013 study by the FDA with baboons determined that animals vaccinated against pertussis were protected from it themselves, but were able to transmit the disease to unvaccinated animals. They found that the bacteria that caused pertussis remained in teh airways for up to six weeks after vaccination. Then there are the cases showing that the MMR can actually shed and cause infection in other children (admittedly, I don’t know how common it is, but it has been shown to be possible).

              I wonder, then, if Senate Bill 792 passes (another mandatory vaccination bill working its way through the Senate right now, requiring daycare workers to get, among other vaccines, the Tdap, or be charged with a crime), if we will actually see an increase in pertussis cases in vulnerable young babies who either weren’t vaccinated at all (under 2 months old), or hadn’t received all their doses yet. And I don’t think outbreaks of pertussis in elementary schools will be affected at all by requiring all students to have the Dtap. After all, the CDC itself says that unvaccinated people are not the cause of the increase in outbreaks.

  • Suzzana Bride

    This is NOT good for California’s children. Jab and see is not good enough for me.

    • Dorit Reiss

      I would say that protecting children from disease is very good for them. By preventing parents from sending vaccine-deprived children to school, the bill prevents the anti-vaccine minority from imposing their choices on other people’s children. By raising immunization rates it will also increase herd immunity, offering some protection to the vaccine-deprived children as well against their parents’ choice.

  • no1uknow1

    “I hope and expect that the bill will be changed to clarify that all home schoolers are exempt from vaccination requirements, leaving an out.” but you acknowledge that it doesn’t. This thing is dead as a doornail Dorit.

    • Dorit Reiss

      Notice that the bill passed out of Health Committee with exactly that amendment.

      • Suzzana Bride

        Really please show proof? Also how long before they start hunting home schooled children down?

        • Dorit Reiss

          You are not aware that the amendment was added to the bill?

          • Vicky Sloane

            What about please show proof are you having an issue with?

          • R T

            The amendment does not protect children who are enrolled in public school homeschool satellite programs. They are still considered enrolled in that school although they are physically schooled at home. This will limit to an extreme the educational options for homeschooled children.

            • Dorit Reiss

              The bill exempts a range of options. Including home schooling as a private school, with an accredited teacher, or as an independent study.

            • R T

              It completely removes these options currently available:

              Join a private school satellite program PSP, if it has filed its own private school affidavit in California. If it has not, then you must take all of the steps to establish your own private school and must file the private school affidavit.
              Join a public school ISP (Independent Study Program), in which case your child is enrolled in public school.
              Join a Charter School Homeschooling Program, in which case your child is enrolled in public school.

              If you really care about children as much as you claim, you would be as supportive of them receiving a good education, as you are of them being vaccinated. Education and health are equally important. One without the other does not make for a high quality of life. The new bill greater reduces educational choice for people ALREADY homeschooling.

            • Dorit Reiss

              You are welcome to write the authors and suggest adding other homeschooling options that you think will broaden the range.

              But the bill reduces no options. You can have any options you want, if you protect your children from disease. Your options are more limited – and again, you can suggest additional options you think should be included – if you don’t.

  • no1uknow1

    You folks eager for “forced mandatory vaccinations” and “removal of parental choice” are the vocal extreme minority. Forced mandatory vaccinations is un-American and un-Californian. Your ignorance on this subject is only exceeded by your arrogance.

    • Dorit Reiss

      School immunization requirements in the U.S. date back to the 19th century and are a part of our legal environment for many years. They’re as American as apple pie.

      • Dorit Reiss

        Because U.S. legislators realize that keeping children in schools protected from preventable diseases is important.

        • Suzzana Bride

          Legislatures believe they like the pharmaceutical money lining their pockets.

          • Dorit Reiss

            I’m sorry you feel a need to justify legislative support for a bill aimed at protecting children from disease with an unfounded conspiracy theory.

            • A vaccine killer like the Nazis

            • The vaccine court has proven vaccines cause autism and the CDC quacks are in denial!

          • Andrew Lazarus

            Better than helping the mortuaries.