California Passes Mandatory Vaccination Law
California has made it much harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children. Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed legislation eliminating religious and other personal exemptions to vaccinations.
“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown said. “The evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”
Opponents of the law expressed their concerns citing studies linking vaccinations to autism. Those studies have since been debunked. Critics of the legislation also objected to what they saw as restrictions of religious and personal beliefs.
Medical waivers from vaccinations will be an option for parents, and doctors will be able to consider family history when granting them. It also gives parents years to comply, and exemptions filed before Jan. 1, 2016 will be grandfathered until children complete their “grade spans," defined as the years from birth to preschool, kindergarten to sixth grade, and seventh through 12th grade. Those without a medical exemption and who are not vaccinated will have to be home-schooled or study in small, private homeschooling groups.
The law make California the third U.S. state to eliminate a personal-belief exemption for vaccinations. The other two are Mississippi and West Virginia.