California Parents Applaud Senate for Passing Vaccine Exemption Bill

From doctors to immune-suppressed children, everyone benefits from SB 276 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Vaccinate California, a parent advocacy group working to improve public health across the state, today issued a statement in response to full Senate passage of Senate Bill 276, which was voted off the floor in a 24-10 vote.

“The recurrence of measles and other vaccine preventable disease is too serious a threat to our children to ignore. Vaccinate California and thousands of parents across the state applaud the Senate for passing this important bill that will help protect all California children,” said parent and Vaccinate California Co-Founder Leah Russin.

SB 276, authored by Senator Richard Pan, will enhance the exemption laws preventing students from getting the required immunizations before admittance to a school. Under SB 276, medical exemptions will be reviewed by theCalifornia Department of Public Health (CDPH). Additionally, the CDPH will create and maintain a database of medical exemptions to keep track of fraudulent or inconsistent requests. 

“My daughter will be on immunosuppressants for the rest of her life. We count on others being vaccinated to protect her from measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases. This bill will give us peace of mind that she can safely attend school and her dance classes,” said Jenni Balck, a Ladera Ranch resident and mother to an immune-compromised 10-year-old daughter.

San Leandro resident and school nurse Joan Edelstein said lax exemption laws put her daughter’s premature baby in danger. “My daughter just had a 3 ½ pound preterm infant who can’t be vaccinated against measles and is highly vulnerable,” Edelstein said.

“As a pediatrician and the mother of a childhood cancer survivor, I know the importance of vaccines,” said Erin Holsinger, an M.D. from Palo Alto. “No person should have to worry they that will catch one of these potentially fatal diseases in the classroom, doctor’s office or community.”

Kayla Colburn, a mother in Palo Cedro near Redding, said, “The day after my new baby was born in April, Shasta county announced another case of the measles. A week later another local baby too young to be vaccinated was diagnosed, as well. SB 276 will ensure that our community and schools are as safe as possible for these little ones!”

This vote comes days after Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D., introduced theVaccines Act of 2019, which aims to fund research into effective ways to encourage parents to vaccinate.

“Vaccines were one of the greatest medical accomplishments of the 20th century and have been proven safe and effective at preventing diseases that once killed or greatly harmed people around the world,” said Rep. Schrier in a statement.

“We are very grateful for the leadership of Dr. Pan and the members of the Senate who voted with him,” said Leah Russin. “We look forward to moving the bill through the Assembly.”