California is discovering one thing in the clearest of ways: Parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children will fight the state in any way possible. And it seems they may have found a savvy way to revolt. The year following California’s implementation of SB277, vaccine medical exemptions rose, according to an article in JAMA. This implies a potential that more doctors are catering to parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children. Of course, the stat could mean that medical issues that are accepted exemption reasons are up, but that’s doubtful from a common-sense perspective. It likely means that more doctors are catering to parents who do not want to vaccinate their children. It could also be an indication that there is a groundswell of silent support for vaccine choices.
Measles, chickenpox, and polio are the main calls for vaccine proof when you enter a California public school. Many thought the personal-belief exemptions being voided by the state would be the end of the fight for vaccine choice altogether. That however no longer seems to be the case. And further complicating the matter for the state is the idea that a good amount of support might be coming from their “trusted” medical community.
Medical exemptions can account for a family’s medical history, which likely fuels some of the justifications for giving out those particular exemptions. It wouldn’t be incredibly unlikely to think that California might target those exemptions as a way to prevent any further vaccine choice groundswell.
Oddly, one researcher claims that SB277 is an experiment of sorts, according to the LATimes.
“We were just waiting for the data to be released,” said Paul Delamater, a health geographer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lead author of the new report.
For this paper, Delamater and his colleagues tallied the exemption rates before and after the law was enacted. They found that for the two decades before SB 277 went into effect, the percentage of California kindergartners with medical exemptions was mostly stable, generally rising only slightly every few years. For example, in 2005 the rate was 0.15%; in 2015 it was 0.17%.
But from 2015 to 2016, the medical exemption rate jumped from 0.17% to 0.51% — an unprecedented threefold increase in the rate.
Something tells me this will turn out to be more than just an “experiment.” And this may well prompt harsher forms of legislation as well as stiff pentalities for medical professionals who seem non-compliant. The potential is all there.
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