California lawmakers deserve a lot of credit for what they did yesterday, with the State Assembly passing SB 277, a law that finally ends vaccine exemptions for reasons of conscience or religious belief:
The measure, among the most controversial taken up by the Legislature this year, would require more children who enter day care and school to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.
Those with medical conditions such as allergies and immune-system deficiencies, confirmed by a physician, would be excused from immunization. And parents could still decline to vaccinate children who attend private home-based schools or public independent studies off campus.
If the bill becomes law, California will be the 32nd state to deny exemptions grounded in personal or moral beliefs, but only the third to bar exceptions based on religious convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Believe it or not, West Virginia and Mississippi are the two other states leading the way on this matter.
But this new law is exactly how it should be. If a child isn’t vaccinated — whatever the reason — they shouldn’t be put in contact with other kids they might infect. Parents shouldn’t be putting others in danger because of their irresponsible, ignorant, Jenny McCarthy-esque beliefs.
It’s that negligence that led to the law in the first place:
After a measles outbreak that began at Disneyland late last year, lawmakers and public health officials began searching for ways to increase immunization in areas with low rates of inoculation. Across the state, only about 3 percent of children have not had vaccinations, but in some schools about half of all students have not gotten the vaccines recommended by most doctors.
Now it’s up to Governor Jerry Brown to sign this bill into law so that kids are kept safe.
Your move, Rick Perry.
(Image via Shutterstock)