California became the fifth state to limit medical exemptions for vaccines of schoolchildren after Mississippi, West Virginia, Maine and New York. This means they do not offer personal, philosophical or religious exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the two bills on Monday.

According to SB 276

“Existing law prohibits the governing authority of a school or other institution from admitting for attendance any pupil who fails to obtain required immunizations within the time limits prescribed by the State Department of Public Health. Existing law exempts from those requirements a pupil whose parents have filed with the governing authority a written statement by a licensed physician to the effect that immunization is not considered safe for that child, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of their medical condition or circumstances, including, but not limited to, family medical history.”

The initial bill aims cracking down fraudulent medical exemptions to mandatory vaccinations for school-age children. In a statement, governor Newsom said that the “legislation provides new tools to better protect public health, and does so in a way that ensures parents, doctors, public health officials and school administrators all know the rules of the road moving forward.”

As a complementary bill, SB 714 supports mandatory immunization “unless the pupil has been immunized or has a medical exemption through a procedure that includes the completion of a compliant statewide form.”

The bill makes it clear that enforcement will start next year. This means doctors who previously granted a high number of medical exemptions won’t face scrutiny. However, different voices arose as the bill was being voted on. Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa recalled a developmentally disabled cousin who died at a young age.

 “That’s what these people fear,” Moorlach said for protesters. “We’ve got to hit the pause button.”

A new study revealed in the medical journal of JAMA tells the yearly rate of kindergartners without an up-to-date vaccination status rose from 7.8% to 9.84% between 2000 and 2013. 

“We noted a big decrease in the likelihood that a not-up-to-date kindergartener would have contact with another not-up-to-date kindergartner within their school,” the study’s first author Cassandra Pingali, a fellow at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Services Division in Atlanta, said in an email as CNN reported. She added, ”These results indicate that a vaccine preventable disease outbreak is less likely to occur, and the interventions were effective at increasing vaccination rates in California kindergartners.”

WHAT THE LEFT IS SAYING: Scott Wiener, CA Democrat State Senator: “The Senate just gave final approval to #SB276 – cracking down on fraudulent vaccine exemptions – & the bill now heads to the Governor. I’m proud to co-author this important public health legislation, which is about our kids’ well-being. Thank you 

@DrPanMD for your leadership.”

WHAT THE RIGHT IS SAYING: Republican Senator Shannon Grove: “Many California families are filling the hallways and surrounding the Capitol to ask Governor Newsom to veto #SB276. 

I voted NO along with all my Senate Republican colleagues. #CaLeg”

Written ByEkim Kilic

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