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Monday, October 1, 2012

California Vaccine Law

Many posts have dealt with the issue of autism and vaccines. At The Sacramento Bee, Jim Sanders reports:
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sunday requiring parents who exclude their children from immunization requirements to submit a signed statement that they received information about risks and benefits of vaccines.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento proposed the measure, Assembly Bill 2109, which requires the statement to be signed by the parents and by a health care practitioner.
In signing the bill, Brown said that he will direct the state Department of Health to provide a way for people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations from having to seek a health care practitioner's signature.

Opponents of AB 2109 blasted it as a form of government coercion that forces parents to jump through a bureaucratic hoop, potentially incurring cost to obtain a healthcare practitioner's signature, before exercising their legal right to opt out of vaccinations.
Pan, a pediatrician by profession, characterized the measure as a way to increase public safety by raising immunization rates.
You may find the text of the signing statement here.

At Commentary, Bethany Mandel takes a strong pro-vaccination view:
For several years, rumors have spread through all-natural, hippie parenting circles that vaccines contain chemicals that cause autism. They maintain, despite a total lack of scientific evidence, that children have been disabled and incapacitated by mercury and other preservatives in vaccines. The one scientific study that might have made their case was discredited last year and its results thrown out. Despite this, many famous parents, including Jenny McCarthy (of MTV fame) and Mayim Bialik (TV’s Blossom) have publicly lambasted vaccine research while declaring their children to be unvaccinated. Unfortunately, these conspiracy theories have hit the political mainstream as well. During the primaries this year Rep. Michele Bachmann repeated rumors she heard from an audience member at a debate about vaccine safety. In 2008, both candidates for president spread vaccine misinformation, claiming that the science was still undecided on the link between vaccines and autism.

The millions of dollars raised and spent by governments and organizations to end polio worldwide is money well-spent. Unfortunately, one epidemic could undo the decades of work making this vaccine available to every child in the world. We’ve already seen outbreaks of deadly and entirely preventable diseases like whooping cough and themeasles, and instances of diseases with vaccines available have increased as immunization opt-outs rise. While it’s admirable that these groups are working to make vaccines available in the most remote villages in the world, parents in Portland and other liberal epicenters are setting medical science back fifty years in the United States.