VACCINATE CALIFORNIA APPLAUDS NEW LEGISLATION THAT WILL PROTECT CALIFORNIA CHILDREN BY ENDING ABUSES TO THE VACCINE EXEMPTION PROCESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

                                                           Media Contact:
Leah Russin
(650) 434-3073
Leah@vaccinatecalifornia.org

VACCINATE CALIFORNIA APPLAUDS NEW LEGISLATION THAT WILL PROTECT CALIFORNIA CHILDREN BY ENDING ABUSES TO THE VACCINE EXEMPTION PROCESS

Vaccinate California commends Senator Dr. Richard Pan for introducing legislation to end fraudulent medical exemptions and urges all legislators to immediately pass Senate Bill 276

March 26, 2019 (Sacramento) Vaccinate California, a parent advocacy group working to improve public health in California by raising vaccination rates, today applauded new legislation from state Senator Dr. Richard Pan to curb abuses to the vaccine medical exemption process. Senate Bill 276 would require state health officials to approve all requests for medical exemptions to school-required vaccinations and grant officials the authority to revoke medical exemptions if they are found to be fraudulent or inconsistent with CDC guidelines.

“The health of California children is at risk because a few unscrupulous doctors are preying on unjustified fears about vaccines and selling medical exemptions to parents. Our children, and many adults, rely on herd immunity for survival, and every baseless or fraudulent medical exemption jeopardizes their health and safety,” said Vaccinate California Cofounder and Executive Director Leah Russin. “We applaud Senator Pan for introducing Senate Bill 267 and we urge all California legislators to immediately pass this legislation and protect California children by ending fraudulent medical exemptions to school vaccinations.”

Following a measles outbreak in Disneyland in 2014, California legislators passed Senate Bill 277, authored by Senator Pan, which eliminated all non-medical exemptions to the required vaccines for school entry. The law significantly increased state vaccination rates. Overall vaccination rates for kindergarten students rose from 92.8 percent the year before the bill took effect to 95.1 percent for the 2017-2018 school year, according to California Department of Public Health data. However, the rate of medical exemptions has more than tripled, from 0.2 percent in 2015-2016 to 0.7 percent in 2017-2018.

“Parents across the state who fought to secure SB 277 are once again worried that the significant pockets of personal belief exemptions have now transformed into significant pockets of fraudulent medical exemptions,” added Russin. “Medical exemptions should only be given to those who truly need them. It is once again time for parents, physicians, health officials, and concerned Californians to speak up about the abuse of medical exemptions. It is also time for the California state legislature to act to end these abuses.”

For vaccinations to be an effective measure for preventing diseases such as measles, at least 95 percent of the population must be immunized against a disease; this is known as community immunity or herd immunity. Herd immunity protects the entire community, including those who cannot be vaccinated – such as newborns, children with serious allergies, or children with weakened or failing immune systems, such as children living with cancer – and the small percentage of children for whom immunizations do not work.

“Vaccinate California believes that science, not fear, must govern public policy and that everyone who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated in order to protect those who cannot,” added Russin. “Vaccinations are one of the most effective public health tools ever invented, but community immunity is fragile. Recent measles outbreaks in California and elsewhere are a grave reminder that vaccine-preventable illnesses once thought to be eradicated remain a present threat to public health.”

Senate Bill 276 is cosponsored by Vaccinate California, the California Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, California.

For more information on Vaccinate California and the new legislation, visit: http://vaccinatecalifornia.org/.

About Vaccinate California

Vaccinate California is a parent advocacy group working to improve public health in California by raising vaccination rates. Through advocacy, education, and collaboration, Vaccinate California seeks to build a state where all parents have the available resources to ensure their children receive the appropriate vaccinations to protect the health of everyone in California.

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Twitter: @VaccinateCal