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Bill Attempts To Reduce Number Of Unimmunized Children In California

Aired 3/20/12 on KPBS News.

A new bill would require parents who want to exempt their schoolkids from required vaccinations to get information from a health provider first.

— California pediatricians are rallying behind a bill that deals with parents who want to exempt their kids from vaccinations. The measure would require parents to speak with a health provider first.

Kids in California are required to be vaccinated against a host of diseases, including polio and measles, before entering kindergarten and the 7th grade.

California is one of 20 states that allows parents a personal belief exemption to avoid getting their children immunized for school. Over the last decade statewide, the number of these exemptions has tripled.

East County Pediatrician Stuart Cohen said there are now about 11,500 kindergartners in the state who haven't gotten their shots.

"We don't want to turn back to the 40s and 50s, where we had polio and measles epidemics," Dr. Cohen said. "We really want to have an accurate, informed discussion with parents that the schedule and the number of vaccines are safe. "

The measure would require parents who wanted to exempt their kids to first get information on vaccines from a licensed practitioner. Parents would have to present a signed document to school officials to that effect, before requesting an exemption.

The bill will get its first hearing in the state Assembly next month.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | March 20, 2012 at 7:28 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Too bad the bill won't isolate the unvaccinated kids to a seperate classroom to protect the other children.

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Avatar for user 'LizDitz'

LizDitz | March 20, 2012 at 8:57 a.m. ― 5 years ago

I predict that Age of Autism's Anne Dachel will show up within hours and attempt to convince readers that all vaccines are dangerous; that vaccines cause autism; and that this bill is a violation of parental rights.

Readers should also know that this bill has been targeted by Barbara Loe Fisher's anti-vaccination group, the misnamed National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)

and the anti-vaccination political party known as "The Canary Party".

What do you want to bet that "Big Supplement" marketeer Joe Mercola donates tens of thousands of dollars to defeat AB 2109, as he has on other California legislation?

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Avatar for user 'ToddW'

ToddW | March 20, 2012 at 9:09 a.m. ― 5 years ago

It's great to see legislators making moves like this. Rather than taking away any rights, legislation like this helps to ensure that parents really know what they are opting out of, rather than getting misinformation from propagandists like the NVIC and Age of Autism Liz Ditz mentioned or similar organizations.

Philosophical exemptions make it far too easy for parents to be complacent about vaccinations and simply opt out due to laziness. This will hopefully at least get parents and their children into the doctors' offices when they might simply brush it off otherwise. It would still allow parents to opt out if they so wish, but it has potential to improve public health. Washington state recently passed similar legislation. It would be great to see more of this across the country.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 20, 2012 at 11:04 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Why are parents allowed to opt-out?

Vaccination requirements are a **public safety** issue that have been deemed **constitutional** going back to Jacobson V Massachussetts in 1905.

There should be no exceptions or religious or personal belief, and no exceptions for normal low-risk side effects.

The only exceptions should be for children who have **documented** existing health problems that make them substantially more at risk fom an adverse reaction.

Some of these parents are really ignorant and they obviously don't realize how devastating vaccine-preventable diseases have been in past decades. Far more devastating to public health than all the adverse reactions documented from vaccines.

It's scary that the state has seen this tripling of unvaccinated children.

Herd Immunity can accommodate those few children who have a **legitimate** condition that precludes thm to dangerous reactions, but it **can't** accommodate all the present day nit-wits who don't understand basic principles of public health.

Diseases like polio and measles **will** return if we continue down this path, and the same dopes whining about the government forcing vaccinations on their children will be whining that the government is responsible or their child's crippling polio if that disease returns.

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