While California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill 276, a piece of legislation that further limits vaccine exemptions for children going into public or private schools in California, in September, critics have continued to express their concern.
The new law requires the State Department of Public Health to create a standardized medical exemption request with information certified under penalty of perjury as true, accurate, and complete. Parents must submit a copy of previous medical exemptions to the state database by Jan. 1, 2021 for their exemptions to remain valid.
The law would also flag physicians who request five or more exemptions in a year, as well as schools with immunization rates under 95 percent.
Proponents of SB-276 cited recent reports of measles outbreaks that resulted in 45 instances of the illness in the state in their support of the bill.
In a statement published online, Dr. Richard Pan, a state senator representing parts of Sacramento and Yolo counties who also co-wrote the bill, said that SB-276 was meant to “prevent fake medical exemptions that are contributing to measles outbreaks.”
“As our country is experiencing the greatest number of measles infections in 25 years,” the statement read, “[SB 276] will strengthen oversight of the medical exemption process, which some doctors in the state are abusing by selling medical exemptions to parents.”
Meanwhile, as the bill reached the governor’s desk, protesters crowding the front steps of the state capitol were reportedly arrested for blocking entrances and resisting arrest while demanding that legislators pull their support for the bill.
Parents and other opponents in California have criticized mandated vaccines for a variety of reasons, including beliefs grounded in religious or philosophical convictions. One reason is because some vaccines are created by using fetal embryo fibroblast cells originally obtained from two 1960s-era aborted pregnancies.
According to economist Ryan McMaken, many parents choose to forego immunizing their children against measles because there isn’t a vaccine option for measles alone.
“Some people would prefer a measles vaccine that has not been combined with vaccines for mumps and rubella,” wrote McMaken.
The separate measles vaccine hasn’t been available in the United States since 2009. Lack of choices, McMaken argues, forces parents to grapple with their core beliefs in order to comply with the state. The vaccine for rubella is one of the products made from the aborted cells.
To Dr. Gilbert Berdine, an associate professor of internal medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a faculty affiliate with the Free Market Institute, California politicians may have gone too far by using 45 cases of measles to justify the bill’s passage.
“Having grown up at a time prior to the availability of a measles vaccine, I know for a fact that 45 cases of measles is not the catastrophe that authorities make it out to be,” he told The Epoch Times.
And while there might be complications associated with the disease, he added, they are “very uncommon.”
What’s really at stake in this debate, Berdine added, isn’t the consequences of contracting the disease, but whether parents should have any choice as to what their children put in their own bodies.
“If the number of people who voluntarily receive the vaccine is too few to satisfy ‘experts’ then [they] need to do a better job of persuading parents that the risks vs. benefits are in favor of vaccination,” he said.