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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Watering Down a Vaccine Mandate Bill

Tracy Seipel writes at The San Jose Mercury News:
A bill originally aimed at ensuring that virtually all schoolchildren are fully vaccinated is getting watered down -- but in a politically astute way that will most likely ensure its historic passage.

The authors of the incendiary legislation, Sens. Richard Pan and Ben Allen, plan to amend the bill in a way that essentially "grandfathers in" many public and private school students whose parents have claimed "personal belief exemptions" to vaccination requirements.

If Senate Bill 277 clears the Legislature and is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the amendment will mean that more than 13,000 children who have had no vaccinations by first grade won't have to get their shots until they enter seventh grade -- possibly exposing their classmates to infectious diseases such as measles and whooping cough. And nearly 10,000 seventh-graders who today aren't fully vaccinated may be able to avoid future shots all together because the state does not always require them after that grade.