Likely inspired by the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, California lawmakers have moved forward with SB 277, a law that will finally curtail the obnoxious conscious or religious belief exemption for vaccinations.
If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, this will become one of the toughest mandatory vaccination bills in the country, and is one that’s a longtime overdue.
The Measles Kingdom
The measles outbreak that surfaced at Walt Disneyland, California, in December spread to over a half-dozen states in the country, Mexico, and Canada. In the United States alone, a total of 147 people were sickened, with nearly a fourth of that figure in California. Thankfully, nobody died.
Many people who fell ill were people who hadn’t been vaccinated. Public health officials believe that patient zero was someone who contracted the virus while overseas and visited Disneyland while contagious.
The outbreak became one of the largest in recent memory, according to the CDC.
Long before the outbreak, in 2000, the CDC declared the disease “eliminated” in the United States. Thanks to an upsurge of unvaccinated citizens, however, the disease reappeared with a vengeance, and in 2014, it was at a 20-year high. This is literally an example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
SB277: Cracking down on anti-vaxx nonsense
California’s SB277 aims to fix this, by removing the primary reason for the outbreak: the belief or conscience exemption. The law will still exempt people who are allergic and/or have immune-system deficiencies — so long as they’re confirmed by a physician.
Those with medical conditions such as allergies and immune-system deficiencies, confirmed by a physician, would be excused from immunization. And parents could still decline to vaccinate children who attend private home-based schools or public independent studies off campus.
If the bill becomes law, California will be the 32nd state to deny exemptions grounded in personal or moral beliefs, but only the third to bar exceptions based on religious convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Because people are people, this managed to become one of the most controversial law debated by the Legislature so far, and is aimed at children who enter daycare and school. It requires immunization against things like measles and whooping cough.
California isn’t the first state to do this. For what’s probably the first time, Mississippi managed to be one of the states leading the way, with West Virginia right behind.
All that’s left is for Governor Jerry Brown to sign the law, insuring that children are protected from the idiot beliefs of their parents.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons