After a second go, and some hasty revision, a controversial bill to end the personal belief exemption for school vaccinations passed through the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
But it’s far too early for supporters of the bill to raise a celebratory toast. There are plenty of other ways SB 277 by Sens. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) can get held up as it works through the legislative process.
Next the bill will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose members are even now probably hearing from the very impassioned, and at times more than a little impolite, anti-vaxxers. Hundreds of them traveled from across the state to testify against this bill, many with their kids at their side. The legislation will need a full Senate floor vote before going through the same process on the Assembly side.
Then there’s the question of our Jesuit-trained governor, who supports religious exemptions and not too long ago undermined a bill, AB 2109, intended to increase vaccinations.
The Times’ editorial board stands in strong support of losing the personal belief exemption, as are most health professionals. The exemption has resulted in pockets of unvaccinated kids in California that has shredded our herd immunity. The recent measles outbreak at Disneyland illustrated exactly what that means: that a disease that had been virtually eradicated years before has the ability to explode life again.
In any case, this is a debate that ain’t over by a long shot.
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