California Lawmakers Vote To Remove Vaccine Exemptions For Schoolchildren

bradl

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Jun 16, 2008
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I'm of two minds for this one.

First there is the common sense/no-brainer mind. Of course we should have the kids vaccinated, especially in light of how the Disneyland measles outbreak was bungled last year. Imagining that running through our schools would have been nightmarish, let alone any other major communicable disease. I don't even want to think about it.

Playing devil's advocate to that, I can also see the parents' rights side of this, and how it should be up to them to parent their children. However, when it comes to communicable diseases, those diseases do not know any borders: parental, human, or otherwise. Some could also claim religious beliefs in this as well, which would pit the 1A against the "provide for the common defense" and "promote the general welfare" clauses of the Preamble to the Constitution.

If someone lives/dies by those beliefs (no pun intended), I could see this reaching SCOTUS, even despite Jacobson v. Massachusetts touching this very issue. It is one thing, like in Jacobsen where a state orders vaccination because of an impending outbreak or an outbreak already occurring; it is another to have it codified into law for a public, taxpayer funded school district to do the same.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/25/417492698/california-lawmakers-vote-to-remove-vaccine-exemptions-for-schoolchildren

California Lawmakers Vote To Remove Vaccine Exemptions For Schoolchildren
June 25, 2015 3:27 PM ET
by Scott Neuman

The California Assembly has joined the state Senate in voting to approve a controversial bill requiring all children attending school to be vaccinated against measles and other common, preventable illnesses — effectively eliminating so-called "personal belief exemptions" that allowed parents to opt out.

The bill is aimed at increasing immunization rates following a serious measles outbreak in December that was traced back to Disneyland and that sickened dozens.

The measure passed the California Assembly on a 46-30 vote, with two Republicans joining the Democratic majority.

"We do not have the right, nor should we have the power, to take away a parent's right to choose," complained Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia.

According to The Contra Costa Times, "over the past few months, hundreds of parents who oppose the legislation have rallied lawmakers at the Capitol saying the bill violates their parental rights, and their belief that some vaccines are unsafe for some children. Then, often with their children in tow, they testified at the public hearing where the measure was considered."

As The Associated Press notes, the measure "would give California one of the nation's strictest vaccine laws by striking the state's personal belief exemption. Only children with serious health issues would be allowed to opt out of mandatory vaccine schedules. Unvaccinated children would need to be homeschooled."

The Contra Costa Times says that only Mississippi and West Virginia have a law as strict as the one that just passed the California Legislature.

The Senate version of the measure requires children attending any public, private or parochial school to be immunized against 10 specified diseases. It would allow only medical exemptions.

A similar bill was already passed by the Senate last month, but because it was amended in the Assembly, it must return to the Senate before going to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not said whether he would sign it into law.
Like I said, I see both sides in this. Thoughts?

BL.
 

triptolemus

macrumors 6502
Apr 17, 2011
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Public schools are not the only avenue for a child to obtain an education. Parents can choose not to vaccinate their snowflakes, and instead home school them or send them to a private school which does not require vaccinations. I suppose the reverse could be said, too -- parents can choose not to send their children to places where vaccinations are not mandated. At this point, though, one might seriously consider getting rid of public schools altogether, which is a ridiculous proposal.

This is about the rights of everyone concerned. Not just the constitution thumpers.

Anyway, the real answer is the science of vaccinations is pretty sound. People who choose not to vaccinate their kids are simply making the wrong, ill-informed choice. They're just wrong. Remember, the earth was flat once, too.
 

jkcerda

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2013
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Public schools are not the only avenue for a child to obtain an education. Parents can choose not to vaccinate their snowflakes, and instead home school them or send them to a private school which does not require vaccinations. I suppose the reverse could be said, too -- parents can choose not to send their children to places where vaccinations are not mandated. At this point, though, one might seriously consider getting rid of public schools altogether, which is a ridiculous proposal.

This is about the rights of everyone concerned. Not just the constitution thumpers.
from the link.
The Senate version of the measure requires children attending any public, private or parochial school to be immunized against 10 specified diseases. It would allow only medical exemptions.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
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Oregon, USA
I'm of two minds as well, but the public interest is pretty compelling. First, an analogy...

Put a single person in the center of north america, say 10000 years ago. They can relieve themselves anywhere they want. Fields, forests, rivers, plains, mountains. There are so few of him, no residual material will pose a risk to him or anywhere he might go. Even if he stays in one place for to long, an hours walk and he's got fresh everything. Fast forward to settlements with a thousand people. They relieve themselves in rivers and holes. Mud develops ideal conditions for a variety of organisms, but these communities are to small and isolated to produce outbreaks. Fast forward again to cities with 100k people and open sewers. People are still exposed to organisms and are now large enough and connected enough to support outbreaks.

The greater our numbers, concentration, and connectedness, the more procedures and systems are needed to keep dangerous organisms under control. There are now to many of us to go back to fewer enough numbers and concentrations are a given. We could choose to give up connectedness but we are not willing to give up the advantages that come with it. So that leaves procedures and systems. Not vaccinating people is the biological equivalent of throwing sewage out the window onto the street. It creates the perfect environment for pathogens to take hold and spread.

Maintaining heard amunity and keeping sewage underground is the basic cost of civilization. We allow either, at our peril.
 
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SactoGuy18

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Sep 11, 2006
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The anti-vaccine crowd is causing easily preventable diseases like measles and pertussis (whooping cough) to start spreading again. What's next, we'll have an outbreak of smallpox or polio again? :rolleyes:
 

0007776

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I think this is good, and parents still have the option of homeschooling their kids if they really don't want to vaccinate them. There is no reason for them to be causing harm to the rest of society by refusing to vaccinate their kids when it has been proved safe over and over.

I might have a problem with it if the government was forcibly vaccinating people, but still allowing homeschooling seems like a good compromise.
 

rdowns

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Jul 11, 2003
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I think this is good, and parents still have the option of homeschooling their kids if they really don't want to vaccinate them. There is no reason for them to be causing harm to the rest of society by refusing to vaccinate their kids when it has been proved safe over and over.

I might have a problem with it if the government was forcibly vaccinating people, but still allowing homeschooling seems like a good compromise.

It would seem to me that parents who want to opt-out of vaccinations for their kids would hardly make good homeschoolers.
 

0007776

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It would seem to me that parents who want to opt-out of vaccinations for their kids would hardly make good homeschoolers.
They might not, but it still seems like the best compromise for groups who have a religious objection to it, and I would imagine that a small enough number of people will actually go that route that the herd immunity should be maintained.
 

sim667

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Dec 7, 2010
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Id be in agreement, although I'd expect private schools to be able to make their own decision....... However I'd imagine they'd overwhelmingly want kids vaxed.

How does it worked if you can't give a child a vaccination however, do they get a certificate of exemption, or are they too removed from schoo? i.e. I couldn't be give the BCG (I'm not sure if its one you have in the states)..... We were actually vaccinated at school for most things anyway, apart from the MMR, which you're meant to have when you're a baby, but I didn't have until I was about 8 or 9 (I think my mum forgot/was too busy at work :D ).

How would it work if a child can't have a vaccination because they are being treated for leukemia or cancer (I think that was an example that was posted in a previous thread here), would they then not be allowed to attend school?
 

sim667

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It would seem to me that parents who want to opt-out of vaccinations for their kids would hardly make good homeschoolers.
I wouldn't have said that a parents decision making about their childs health bears much of an issue on their ability to homeschool a child.
 

0007776

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How does it worked if you can't give a child a vaccination however, do they get a certificate of exemption, or are they too removed from schoo?
From my understanding of it they are still leaving medical exemptions, so presumably they would need something from a doctor saying that they can't be vaccinated for a legitimate reason.
 

ElectronGuru

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Sep 5, 2013
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The anti-vaccine crowd is causing easily preventable diseases like measles and pertussis (whooping cough) to start spreading again. What's next, we'll have an outbreak of smallpox or polio again? :rolleyes:
I take this whole situation as a sign of the lack of confidence in the US healthcare system. A fear caused by the horrific financial aspects of a system that have bled over to a lack of confidence in the scientific aspects (which are actually good if you can afford them). Even those who are insured often worry as much or more about bills than medical outcomes. The difference here is that worry is starting to effect everyone. So now we are forcing the system upon them.