from EdHealth, an online newsletter produced by EdSource with support from The California Endowment | by email
April 27, 2015 :: Despite an outpouring of opposition from hundreds of parents who traveled to Sacramento to testify against the measure, a proposed state law seeking to ensure that more California school children are vaccinated is proceeding through the Legislature. Senate Bill 277, co-authored by state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and state Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, is scheduled to be heard by the state Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Tuesday, April 28.
The bill, which would remove the personal belief exemption to school vaccination laws, passed the state Senate Education Committee on April 22. It previously passed the state Senate Health Committee.
A small percentage of California parents refuse to have their children vaccinated and opt-out by filling out a personal belief exemption form, which must be signed by a health care provider. About 2.5 percent of California kindergarteners had a personal belief exemption on file in fall 2014. Check the EdSource Today Vaccination App to look up vaccination rates at your school.
School vaccination requirements have long been considered an efficient and cost-effective method of protecting public health, dating back at least to 1827, when Boston became the first city to require that public school students be vaccinated against smallpox, according to a 2011 report on mandatory vaccinations from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.
Senate Bill 277 was introduced after a measles outbreak began in Disneyland in Anaheim last December and infected 134 people in the state, including 57 unvaccinated individuals. On April 17, the California Department of Public Health declared the measles outbreak over because two 21-day incubation periods (42 days) had passed without a new outbreak-related infection.
During debate on the bill, Pan, a pediatrician, stated that hundreds of people around the world die every day from measles. According to the World Health Organization, the global toll is 400 deaths from measles every day.
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