By signing Senate Bill 277 into law, Brown pushed the Golden State — long a bastion of liberal vaccine exemptions — into an odd political alliance with two conservative states, Mississippi and West Virginia.
SACRAMENTO — In a historic decision that could reverberate nationwide, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill mandating that almost all California schoolchildren be fully vaccinated, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs.
By signing Senate Bill 277 into law, Brown pushed the Golden State — long a bastion of liberal vaccine exemptions — into an odd political alliance with two conservative states, Mississippi and West Virginia. Until Tuesday, they were the only states that permitted medical exemptions as the sole legitimate reasons to sidestep vaccinations.
“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown wrote in his signing message. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”But the governor also noted that the Legislature had specifically amended SB277 to exempt children from immunizations whenever their physicians conclude that there are “circumstances, including but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization.”Still, opponents who have rallied and railed against the bill at the state Capitol — arguing vociferously that the legislation violates their parental rights — vowed both to sue the state and take their case to California voters.”We are going to have a referendum to ask the public to put a hold on the law,” said Palo Alto resident Christina Hildebrand, president and co-founder of A Voice For Choice. “We will continue to fight this — we are not going away,” added the mother of two unvaccinated children.Whether or not the remaining medical exemption will open the floodgates to parents seeking to get around the new vaccine requirements is up to their doctors, who will have enormous powers under the new law. But many physicians believe very few of their colleagues are likely to agree to medical exemptions unless they’re truly necessary.