Following a measles outbreak, lawmakers are attempting to take away personal exemptions. What do you think?
By BEA KARNES
Less than a week after California health officials declared the measles outbreak over, the state Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would abolish the personal belief exemption that currently allows parents to opt their child out of vaccines in our schools.
Senate Bill 277, authored by Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and Senator representing Sacramento and Senator Ben Allen, the former Board President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, was passed today on a bipartisan vote of 7 to 2.
“Vaccines are one of our greatest medical advancements and this bill is urgently needed to protect the health of our students and our greater community,” said Dr. Pan. “This measure will ensure that students whose parents choose to not vaccinate them have several educational options that don’t put other children at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases.”
A coalition of school boards, education groups, local governments, health organizations and parent and child advocacy groups support SB 277.
Opposing the bill are so-called anti-vaxxers, parents who believe that vaccines may harm their children. Hundreds of opponents testified against the bill and filled the committee room for the vote.
Medical waivers will still be available if it becomes law.
The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing next week.