- Last week, the CA State Assembly approved a bill which would make childhood vaccinations mandatory unless a there is a medical reason to forgo vaccination.
- After some hedging, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 277 (SB 277), requiring universal vaccination of schoolchildren, into law. The legislation was spurred by a recent crisis in the Golden State involving a large measles outbreak among unvaccinated children at Disneyland.
- California is the third state, in addition to West Virginia and Mississippi, to make childhood vaccinations mandatory regardless of personal or even religious objections. More than 35 other states do not allow for personal vaccine exemptions (but do allow for religious ones).
Despite the fact that this bill was so contentious that security was needed in certain public forums, Governor Brown moved forward and signed the bill. In a statement explaining his decision, Brown reflected a respect for the science behind vaccinations as a way to protect against infectious disease, as well as the large evidence base suggesting a very good risk-benefit profile for vaccines in general.
The bill requires that a child be vaccinated before entering public school or when they enter seventh grade (after July 1, 2016). SB 277 has widespread support in California, including from groups like the California Medical Association, the California Immunization Coalition, and others.
However, protesters have not abated in their disdain of the bill and their desire to get it overturned. A Voice for Choice, an advocacy group that promotes the right to not vaccinate, is planning to launch a referendum to ask the public to put a hold on the law.