A new California bill would tighten already strict vaccine laws throughout the state. The bill aims to restrict medical exemptions, which many lawmakers claim are now being abused. One California doctor has already been the subject of intense investigations over issuing medical vaccine exemptions.
State public health officials anticipate 11,500 medical exemption request per year. If Senate Bill 276 passes, nearly half of those request would be denied.
Many parents have voiced concerns over the bill, saying their children experience harsh side-effects from vaccines.
“Someone like my daughter who suffered 16 seizures after her first and only vaccination would not qualify,” said Michelle Sabino of Orange County. “She would be forced to be vaccinated in order to attend kindergarten.”
Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who is the author of SB 276, says that doctors are being too liberal with their exemptions. He hopes the new bill will lessen the overall medical exemptions. For example, some doctors give medical exemptions to kids with asthma, something lawmakers like Pan believe doesn’t warrant an exemption status.
“The real issue we are looking at is we have these schools with high numbers of medical exemptions,” Pan said in an interview Friday. “These schools are not safe from an outbreak. One student during spring break who travels to Europe can catch a disease and bring it back to their school. You have children who legitimately need a medical exemption and we are trying to protect them.”
Pan claims that some doctors are allowing for a vaccine exemption black market and accepting cash in exchange for the exemption.
If SB 276 passes, California’s Department of Public Health becomes the ultimate medical exemption decider, vastly reducing state doctor’s power.
Opponents of the bill say that SB 276 will unfairly reject most exemption requests.
“Legitimate medical exemptions will be approved,” said Catherine Flores-Martin of the California Immunization Coalition. “Opponents just don’t like that their particular exemption may not be approved.”
California is one of three states which does not allow for religious or philosophical vaccine exemptions. If Sb 276 passes, California will intensify a growing battle over parental medical rights.