News

Bill eliminating personal belief vaccination exemption clears state senate

 

A bill that would eliminate the personal belief exemption allowing parents to opt out of vaccinating their children has passed the California Senate and is now being considered by the state Assembly.

Senate Bill 277 was passed on May 14 by a vote of 25 to 10.

"As a pediatrician, I have personally witnessed children suffering life-long injury and death from vaccine-preventable infection," said Dr. Richard Pan, a physician and senator representing Sacramento and West Sacramento who was one of the bill's authors. Sen. Pan said that 32 other states do not allow parents to opt out of vaccination requirements using a personal belief exemption.

If the bill becomes law, only a medical exemption would remain. Children who are not vaccinated would have to be home-schooled.

When the Almanac reported on this issue in February, Menlo Park's Peninsula School, according to statistics from the California Department of Public Health, had the highest reported percentage of personal-belief exemptions in San Mateo County for the 2014-15 school year: 30 percent of this year's 30 kindergartners (nine students).

The opt-out rate at Peninsula has been even higher in the past. State statistics show that the school had a 46 percent personal-belief exemption rate for children in its 2010-11 kindergarten class.

Las Lomitas School in Atherton has the highest public school opt-out rate in the local area. In February, the school said it had 137 kindergartners, with eight students opted out with personal-belief exemptions and two others with permanent medical exemptions, for a 93 percent vaccination rate.

Barbara Wood

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Elly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Well, Big Brother has arrived in California. Now, politicians in Sacramento know better than parents how to raise their children and--if this bill passes the Assembly--will be able to enforce THEIR belief system on the rest of us. I would guess that parents who opt out of vaccinations for their children care very much about their welfare, not the opposite. Personally, I don't trust politicians to know what is best for my children. Also, Senator Dr. Pan's statistics don't mean anything except as a measure of California's health laws against those of other states. To suggest that vaccinations would eliminate occurrence of treatable infections is like saying if someone aggressively treats early symptoms of cancer, that person will not get cancer. I'm for the less interference in people's personal choices, the better.


27 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Elly:

I respectfully suggest you do a little research and look into some risk analysis. The risks from vaccinations are infinitesimal in comparison to the risks from diseases like mumps, measles, rubella and polio to name a few. If your decision regarding your children only effected them it would be fine, but it doesn't. The rates of these diseases are rising due to people like you refusing to vaccinate. If you want to expose your children to the risk of death or disablement that is your choice. It's not your right to inflict that on the rest of us or our children.


36 people like this
Posted by Tunbridge Wells
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Tunbridge Wells is a registered user.

This isn't Big Brother. It doesn't force parents to do anything. Parents who don't choose to vaccinate are free to choose that route. What this bill does is place the cost of making that choice on the party making the choice. The current situation has the costs externalized to third parties. Immunocompromised people and small babies too young to be vaccinated should not be paying the price of a third party choosing not to vaccinate. There is a great deal of very well-understood science out there supporting the effectiveness and relative safety of vaccinations. There are also a lot of goofy quacks on the internet who say differently, but the science does not support them. Parents who choose not to vaccinate for personal belief reasons (as opposed to legitimate medical reasons) are freeloading on the herd immunity. It's time that such a choice imposed a cost on those who are not holding up their part of the social contract.


12 people like this
Posted by Selfish folk
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Selfish folk do not want to participate in building a community "wall" to protect immuno-compromised people and small babies too young to be vaccinated.

Let them be measle'd, they shout!

Please tell us all about it, and any other libertarian/anti-government hogwash.

Not. Just go away.


22 people like this
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2015 at 8:16 pm

To those who don't think they need to vaccinate their children because they know more than doctors there is a funny skit on that very topic -

If you don't think your kids need to be vaccinated, then you must know more than doctors who have gone to medical school. So next time you break a leg, or get appendicitis or even have the flu - DON'T think of going to a doctor, because you know more than they do1


32 people like this
Posted by Local Family Physician
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

I am grateful to Dr Pan and other brave politicians who are standing up for rights of the sick and immunocompromised kids and adults in our state who vulnerable to vaccine-preventable illnesses. There is a large, either self-centered or completely mis-educated segment of our population that either don't understand or don't care what challenges we have overcome with these vaccines. For those of you who have never watched a newborn die of Pertussis, or a women with lifelong paralysis from polio, or a teenager intubated on life support in the ICU dying in a few short hours from Meningococcal Menintitis (who was totally well a day earlier), it is devastating.
I am not a big fan of California politicians normally, but this is one battle that they are selflessly taking on and I thank them for this. They are getting nothing in return other than a bunch of angry phone calls from the anti-vaccine crowd. For those with legitimate vaccine reactions or contraindications (Guillain Barre, HIV, etc), your doctor will still be able to exempt you medically.


3 people like this
Posted by Ethan
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

But doesn't every kid aspire to be the neighborhood Typhoid Mary?


12 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Please, do me a favor and keep your little Typhoid Mary's and Johnny's away from me and the other kids in the city. You have every right to home school your kids. Do not bring them in public places.


8 people like this
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2015 at 12:34 pm

If you choose not to vaccinate your kids, that's your choice. Stop taking them to the doctor all together, since you must know more than your pediatrician!


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Just wondering if those who are so in favor of government required vaccinations are also against consuming GMO foods.

They should realize that those very same scientists who say vaccines are perfectly safe (and I agree with them) also say that GMOs are safe (and I agree with them, too) - in fact, by even greater percentages.

For the record, due to my prior occupation in health care, I am up to date on every possible vaccine, as are my children.


7 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2015 at 9:15 am

It's astounding to me that so many anti-vaxxers are bizarrely ignorant. Their fear-mongering, which is pandered to by so be slimy celebrity pediatricians, is extreme. They believe things like measles can be prevented merely by good sanitation, but if it's contracted vitamin A is the key.

Some of our local schools have distressingly low student vaccine rates. I really hope that the Assembly votes for this important bill. Countering this dangerous ignorance shouldn't be further delayed.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 21, 2015 at 12:52 pm

pogo is a registered user.

People should distinguish between anti-vaxxers (people who don't think vaccines are safe) and those that don't want the government to force immunizations on their children.

There is a difference.

This sentiment is from someone who is clearly in favor of vaccines...


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 21, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Pogo:

the government isn't forcing people to vaccinate. The law simply says if you are going to send your child to school they must be vaccinated. People that don't want to vaccinate their child for whatever stupid reason can still not do it. They just have home school their children.


2 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm

The fact that the anti-vaxxers have framed the argument as gov't *forcing* vaccinations indicates the level of insanity at work. These are the same people who believe that human tissue is included in come vaccines. But this wrong-headed anti-gov't stance is their method to rope in others. They pretend that PBEs aren't a recent option, and that anything other is Big Brother's dominance.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm

pogo is a registered user.

I know it's not popular, but I don't like the idea of the government insisting on vaccinations. It's a very dangerous and slippery slope. But I do understand the public health issues, as well.

With regard to MV's comment, I have to respectfully disagree with your position taht non-vaccinated children can just go to another school. Denying public school to one group of children is a big - even breathtaking step. Our government forces us to make accommodations for nearly every sector of our society (no matter how small!)... it would seem there would be a way to accommodate these children as well. Just my opinion.


2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Water makes a deliberate and transparent attempt to confuse two issues. You can be anti-vaccine (following the wisdom of noted expert Jenny McCarthy...) and being against government intervention. Even the "pro-choice" women's rights advocates are against government intervention in their bedrooms and doctor's offices.

Try to focus. They are related but are clearly two different issues.


12 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

pogo:

not go to another school, home school. If they're not vaccinated they shouldn't be around those that are imunocompromised and can't be vaccinated.


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

pogo:

the only accommodation I can see it for the antivaxers to send their kids to the same school. School full of unvaccinated kids. That should be interesting.


Like this comment
Posted by Roger L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Or, imunocompromised kids could all go to the same school....


7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Roger:

I think the accommodation needs to made for those that don't choose to be stupid. But, that's just me.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Roger - All unvaccinated children, immunocompromised or not, are highly susceptible to childhood infectious diseases. Unvaccinated children place even vaccinated children at risk because no vaccine is 100% effective.


2 people like this
Posted by Roger L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm

It seems to me that calling people stupid, willfully wrongheaded, etc., etc., is not going to help those people change their minds and see the light. Peter Carpenter's remark and a couple of earlier ones pointing out things that the "anti-vaxxers" may not have considered--speaking to them as rational adults capable of processing information--surely does much more for the cause of universal vaccinations. If you think someone is stupid or ignorant, it makes more sense to educate or persuade that person instead of alienating them and putting them on the defensive. Unless, of course, you just enjoy spouting off and name-calling.


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2015 at 8:59 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Roger:

I've tried having rational conversations with antivaxers. It's pointless. It's like a religion to them. No amount of facts will convince them they are wrong. The really sad thing is that in the name of keeping their kids "safe" they are putting them at great risk of death or disability.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 23, 2015 at 9:01 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Food for thought:

Web Link

Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Pogo - I pointed out the conflation of issues from anti-vaxxers.

This isn't a slippery slope by gov't. But, a slippery slope has been created by anti-vaxxers - the reintroduction of dangerous diseases, some which spread like wildfire, due to the slippery slope of superstitious fears. Oh, just a PBE here, a PBE there, and before you know it, diseases have returned.

I remember when people were worried about seatbelt laws - too much gov't interference, they said. Now it's common sense - which most anti-vaxxers lack. I've heard many say that measles can't be prevented with good hygiene. Their fear-based ignorance is astonishing.


5 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

Science and selflessness apparently won't change an anti-vaxxer's mind, but something that affects them personally will:

Web Link


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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