SACRAMENTO – The state Senate on Thursday approved a controversial bill that would require many more children to be vaccinated in California by eliminating the ability of parents to opt out of the mandate based on their personal beliefs.
The bill would only excuse children from vaccinations based on medical problems, including a weakened immune system, verified by a physician.
“SB 277 is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) who coauthored the bill with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
Some Republicans unsuccessfully proposed hostile amendments that would have maintained a religious exemption and called for more disclosure of the contents of vaccine.
Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of San Dimas was one of those who opposed the bill, saying the measles outbreak centered at Disneyland in Anaheim eventually ended.
“I don’t believe the crisis we have seen rises to the level to give up the personal freedoms we enjoy in a free country,” Huff told his colleagues.
If the bill is next approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California would join 32 other states that don’t allow parents to opt out of vaccination requirements for their children by citing a personal belief against immunization.