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No Opting Out of Vaccinations Under Proposed California Bill

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With the debate over vaccines reaching a fever pitch, it's only logical a bill on the subject would hit the legislature, and one has.
With the debate over vaccines reaching a fever pitch, it's only logical a bill on the subject would hit the legislature, and one has.  | Photo: Ruben Diaz/Flickr/Creative Commons

With the debate over vaccines reaching a fever pitch, it's only logical a bill on the subject would hit the legislature, and one has. SB 277, introduced in late February, would remove exemptions from existing law that allow parents to forego having their children immunized for personal beliefs.

The bill would pertain to diseases like mumps, whooping cough and measles which, in part due to a recent Southern California outbreak, has been making a comeback.

Exemptions for medical reasons would still be available, but the bill would prevent anti-vaxxers from straying from a typical vaccination schedule or choosing not to vaccinate at all. The bill would prevent children from going to public or private schools, nurseries, day cares or development centers without vaccinations.

The debate over the soundness of traditional vaccination methods extends even within the medical community. This "SoCal Connected" segment gives voice to physicians with strongly conflicting views.

The California Medical Association has already voiced its support for the measure. It told KCET that "we have substantial policy on record supporting this type of good public policy because it helps to keep individual children, schools and communities healthier and safe. SB 277 is a step in the right direction for the health and safety of the public to ensure that unnecessary outbreaks of once eradicated diseases don't resurface."

Parents who avoided having their children vaccinated likely won't support the bill. Among them are people like Dotty Harmier, founder of Moms in Charge, an Orange County group that aims to educate parents on health issues.

Hagmier, a retired nurse, believes mandatory vaccinations are an infringement of human rights.

"For them to mandate that for our children is opening up huge Pandora's box for government telling us to do for our health," Hagmier said.

She questions whether the public has adequate access to information about cases of vaccinations making children sick or killing them. Autism is not the only concern she has. Asthma, allergies, digestive disorders, ADHD could all be the result of the litany of vaccinations that has grown over decades, she said.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that children's bodies are still developing, explained Hagmier, "and if you load them up with these vaccinations there may be some problems."

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