Talk about a first-world problem. Anti-vaxxers have made a lot of noise about their right to stop their kids from being vaccinated, but public health concerns outweighed their complaints in the big liberal state. Opposition to vaccinations has been centered in wealthy communities like Marin County and Hollywood. Marin has the highest rate of opt-outs in California: 7.8 percent in 2013, compared to a state average of 2.5 percent. Robert F. Kennedy warned of a vaccine-caused “holocaust” — a remark for which he later apologized, but it shows the hysteria of some.
Meanwhile in the backward Islamic third world, public health workers who vaccinate against polio are murdered for their efforts by Islam followers. In Pakistan, 63 anti-polio vaccinators and their armed guards have been murdered in the last two years (Taliban Assassins Target Pakistan’s Polio Vaccinators, National Geographic, 3/3/15). In Nigeria, nine young women anti-polio vaccinators were killed in two attacks by jihadists in February 2013.
So courageous public health workers face death to keep kids safe from polio. It’s a far cry from privileged Marin County.
Below, relatives of a murdered polio-prevention worker are upset by the sight of her body at a Karachi morgue.
The impetus for the California legislation was fueled by a measles outbreak that started in Disneyland in December and infected 150 people around the west. At Huntington Beach High School, unvaccinated students were told to stay home for three weeks because a kid infected with measles had been present in the school: infectious diseases can be very troublesome!
Measles is a big threat to people with compromised immune systems. A Marin father asked for unvaccinated kids to be kept out of the school his leukemia-afflicted son attends where the opt-out rate is seven percent. The six-year-old boy was still too weak from chemo treatments to be vaccinated himself.
Interestingly, the Centers for Disease Control said the measles outbreak was not homegrown: Disney Measles Outbreak Came From Overseas, CDC Says, 1/29/15.
One of the little-discussed hazards of open borders is the threat to public health from disease-carrying foreigners. In fact, legal immigrants must have a long list of inoculations against communicable diseases, as enumerated by the CDC:
California vaccine bill SB 277 signed into law by Jerry Brown, San Jose Mercury News, June 30 2015
SACRAMENTO — Ending months of speculation on whether he would endorse the incendiary legislation, Gov. Jerry Brown this morning signed into law Senate Bill 277, which requires almost all California schoolchildren to be fully vaccinated in order to attend public or private school, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs.
California now joins only two other states — Mississippi and West Virginia — that permit only medical exemptions as legitimate reasons to sidestep vaccinations.
“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown wrote in his signing message. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”
Sens. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento and Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, co-authors of the legislation, soon after addressed reporters at a news conference held at a Sacramento elementary school where most of the students are fully vaccinated.
“The science is clear. Californians have spoken. The governor and Legislature have spoken,” said Pan, who was surrounded by a crowd of several dozen beaming mothers and young children wearing “I heart immunity” stickers.
“No more preventable contagions. No more outbreaks. No more hospitalizations. No more deaths. And no more fear,” said Pan, who is a pediatrician. “(The bill) is now law.”
Asked if he thought California’s action would spark similar changes in other states, Pan said Brown’s swift action on the bill will send a “strong signal” across the country. Neither California nor any other state “wants to continue to see (outbreaks) happen in their neighborhoods,” Pan said.
But opponents who have rallied against the bill at the state Capitol, saying the legislation violates their parental rights, immediately vowed both to sue the state and take their case to California voters.
“We are going to have a referendum to ask the public to put a hold on the law,” said Palo Alto resident Christina Hildebrand, president and co-founder of A Voice For Choice. “We will continue to fight this — we are not going away,” said the mother of two unvaccinated children.
Under the law, vaccinations would be required of children first entering public school, or when they enter seventh grade, after July 1, 2016.
The clamor around the elimination of the “personal belief exemption” heated up in California after a measles outbreak started last December at Disneyland.
By the time they declared the outbreak over in mid-April, state health officials confirmed 136 measles cases in California. Nearly 20 percent of those cases required hospitalization. That’s something that Pan and Allen said could have been prevented if more Californians, particularly those in communities with low-vaccination rates, were fully immunized.
At the victory rally, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, held the 3-month-old son of his deputy chief of staff while thanking Pan and Allen for the “courage” they showed in taking up such a divisive issue.
Over the past four months as the Legislature debated the bill, Pan, Allen and other lawmakers who supported the bill were harassed and bullied by some opponents of the legislation.
Allen said that poor behavior “strengthened the resolve of our colleages” to get the bill passed and signed into law.
“They don’t like to be mistreated. They don’t like to be threatened. They don’t like to be bullied,” Allen said.
The bill has received widespread support from health and education organizations across the state, including the California Medical Association; the American Academy of Pediatrics, California; California State PTA; California Immunization Coalition; and the California Children’s Hospital Association.
Dr. Richard Thorp, immediate past president of the CMA, thanked the governor and the Legislature for their leadership in supporting the bill.
“SB 277 is based in fact and science and will help increase community immunity across the state,” Thorp said. “This is sound public health and we hope Governor Brown’s swift signature on the bill shows how important it is for California. We applaud his fast action to keep Californians safe.”
Brown’s decision Tuesday also aligns with the opinions of two-thirds of Californians, who believe children should not be allowed to attend public school unless they are vaccinated, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll.
Still, opponents say the bill will be a hardship on many parents whose unvaccinated kids now can only attend private home schools or learn through independent off-campus studies. And, they say, some vaccines harm some children, and parents should have the right to protect their children.
Under the law, a physician has broad authority to grant a medical exemption, not only to children who have had severe reactions to vaccines in the past, but also if a family member had a bad reaction to a vaccine.