Bill Aimed at Cracking Down on Vaccine Exemptions Moves Forward

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On Thursday, the Assembly Health committee pushed forward Senate Bill 276 which would tighten vaccination exemptions in the State of California.

The bill was introduced by Senator Richard Pan which he hopes the bill would cut down on the number of children who are skipping immunizations. Pan also argues this bill helps keep people safe from preventable diseases.

Still, hundreds of public comments have been filed against the bill by parents who are protesting and claiming they would pull their children from school before getting immunizations.

Under SB 276, physicians will submit information to California Department of Public Health (CDPH), including the physician’s name and license number and the reason for the exemption, which CDPH will check to ensure they are consistent with the Center for Disease Control’s contraindications to vaccination. The physician must also certify that they have examined the patient in person.

Additionally, under SB 276, CDPH will create and maintain a database of medical exemptions. CDPH and County Health Officers will have the authority to revoke medical exemptions granted by licensed physicians if they are found to be fraudulent or inconsistent with contraindications to vaccination per CDC guidelines. This authority will give state and county health officers the tools necessary to contain and prevent further outbreaks.

As a result of the implementation of Senate Bill 277, which abolished the personal belief exemption in California, overall vaccination rates increased sharply to more than 95 percent statewide.  That is greater than the 94 percent vaccination rate necessary to achieve community immunity to prevent the spread of a measles outbreak.

Upon passing the State Senate in a 24-10 vote, Senator Pan stated:

“Medical exemptions for required vaccines have more than tripled since the passage of SB 277, putting kids and communities at risk,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “SB 276 assures students who truly need medical exemptions will receive them and that the schools they attend maintain community immunity to keep them safe. Through passage of SB 276, we are taking a preventive approach to keep schools safe for all students by applying a model successfully used in West Virginia, which has not experienced measles in a decade.”

Governor Gavin Newsom has already stated that if the bill reaches his desk, he would sign it. The bill now moves forward to the Appropriations Committee before being heard on the Assembly floor for a full vote.

In April, Pan released a Vaccines & Senate Bill 276: Fact vs. Myth

How they voted:

06/20/19 (PASS) Asm Health 9 2 4 Do pass as amended and be re-referred to the Committee on [Appropriations]
Ayes: Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Bonta, Carrillo, Limón, McCarty, Ramos, Santiago, Wood
Noes: Burke, Waldron
No Votes Recorded: Bigelow, Flora, Mayes, Nazarian

 

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