|June 30, 2015 - A happy day for California children!|
In his signing statement (PDF), Gov. Brown noted the importance of vaccines and the science that supports their use:
The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community...My thanks go out to Senators Pan and Allen for shepherding this bill through the California legislature, to all of the senators and assembly members who voted for this bill, the parents and activists who supported their efforts, and Gov. Brown for signing it. You have all done an amazing thing to protect the health of California's most vulnerable population.
...Thus, SB277, while requiring that school children be vaccinated, explicitly provides an exception when a physician believes that circumstances - in the judgement and sound discretion of the physician - so warrant.
[Edited to Add: While this bill will, in the long run, help to protect California children from infectious disease outbreaks, we won't see an effect immediately. The way the bill is worded, any personal belief exemption for a child filed before January 1, 2016 will be honored until the child reaches the next grade span, i.e.:
- Birth to preschool;
- Kindergarten to 6th grade; and
- 7th-12th grade
During this period, we may also start to see an increase in medical exemptions being filed, primarily by anti-vaccine-sympathetic doctors like Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon. Hopefully, the state medical board will keep tabs on this to ensure that only valid medical exemptions are being filed.]