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Is The California Bill Requiring Vaccinations Fair?

The California senate has passed a bill requiring all children be vaccinated, including those with religious exemptions. Is this bill, expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, fair?

75% of writers and pundits say yes
see all 16 opinions below

What do you think?
Is The California Bill Requiring Vaccinations Fair?  

Arguments contributed by readers:

Yes. We need to do things as a society sometimes for the good of the whole. This is justified by basic science.
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Writers and pundits who say or about the topic, "Is The California Bill Requiring Vaccinations Fair?"
last 24 hours | nytimes
California's Tough Vaccination Law - New York Times

"...California was right to prohibit exemptions based on religious objections. Analysts have found that most religions have no objection to vaccination. Even religiously motivated parents should see the importance of vaccinations to protect the health of their child and others in the community. Experts say that 92 to 94 percent of the population needs to be immune to a disease like measles to achieve herd immunity to protect the whole community.Some opponents of the law say they will sue, push for a referendum to block it, or home-school their children to avoid vaccination. While they have a right to do so, that approach is likely to put their children and others at unnecessary risk...." see full article

1313 days ago | postandcourier
California vaccine law is a healthy measure
"...California's sensible legislative move represents a particularly striking blow against the anti-vaccine movement, much of which is concentrated in that state. The bill drew highly public criticism from celebrities like Jim Carrey, who decried it as an assault to parental rights. More generally, anti-vaccine critics claim that immunizations have been linked to disorders like autism.But dozens of independent studies show absolutely no link between vaccines and autism or other disorders for that matter. There is, however, a very strong link between vaccines and healthy, disease-free childhoods.Parents deserve the freedom to make most choices for their children, and government should be loath to interfere with those decisions. But the health and well-being of others must, in certain cases, trump those freedoms...." see full article

1318 days ago | latimes
Not unlike measles, California vaccination debate rages on - Los Angeles Times
"...In the vaccine debate, there are two indisputable facts that tend to get lost in the noise:Vaccines, while generally safe, are not absolutely safe. And vaccines, while generally effective, are not absolutely effective. These two facts, taken individually, should have been sufficient to merit a veto of the bill. However, when combined, they effectively dismantle any rationale behind the legislation. If vaccines have the potential (albeit rare) to cause severe adverse reactions, and they do not result in protection 100% of the time, how can the state, in good conscience, mandate vaccination in order for children to receive a public education?..." see full article

1320 days ago | nytimes
California, Camelot and Vaccines - New York Times

"...The anti-vaccine crowd's bloated language is matched by its narcissism. The whole reason that parents in this paranoid tribe can deem the risk of not immunizing their children acceptable is that they're counting on other parents to immunize their children and thus create the so-called herd immunity that's the whole point of mandatory vaccinations.They want the freedom to do as they please but don't really want everyone else to emulate them, because then measles and mumps and whooping cough would be immediate threats that eclipse the lesser indeed, the imagined threat of vaccine-induced autism. The anti-vaccine crowd depends on others to comply so that they can hallucinate...." see full article

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1322 days ago | sltrib
Washington Post: California's overcorrection on vaccinations - Salt Lake Tribune
"...Put simply, vaccines particularly against highly infectious, dangerous diseases such as measles save lives. Anti-vaccinators seize on widely discredited studies linking vaccines to autism and other medical maladies. But doctors who support vaccinations point to the real and deadly results of outbreaks that can and have occurred because of under-immunization. Those who refuse vaccinations for their children put at risk those too young or too sick to be vaccinated.California's personal exemption policy allowed immunization rates to dip too low to protect public safety, and legislators were smart to change the rule. But religious exemptions are trickier. The freedom to exercise one's religion is a constitutional cornerstone, and any state should protect the rights of those whose religion genuinely conflicts with vaccination to the extent possible without threatening public health. It happens that no such doctrinal conflict exists in any major religion: some sects of smaller religions such as the Dutch Reformed Church appear to prohibit vaccination. On the one hand, this does not make writing an appropriately narrow religious-exemption provision into a law any easier. On the other, it means allowing these exceptions would be unlikely to lead to immunization levels low enough to risk outbreak...." see full article

1323 days ago | csmonitor
California mandates vaccinations in schools - Christian Science Monitor
"...The bill has been met with heated backlash from opponents who argue that the state is eliminating informed consent and trampling on parental rights. Thousands of parents have come to the Capitol to protest the bill in recent weeks, many vowing to take legal action. One such parent was Kimberly McCauley, a Sacramento resident with a 23-month-old daughter, who told the Associated Press with tears in her eyes that her daughter will go to school. And then, when she is denied at kindergarten, I will sue. Senator Allen says he is confident the new vaccination laws could withstand any legal challenge brought by angry parents, as similar laws have passed muster over and over again in other states. ..." see full article

1325 days ago | slate
California May Make It Harder to Opt Out of Getting Vaccinated. Im OK With That.

"...For those opposing it because they think vaccines are unsafe, well, they're just wrong. There's no delicate way to put that, no cushioning it. The claims of health concerns from anti-vaxxers are long, but completely unfounded. Vaccines don't cause autism. Andrew Wakefield, whose research is the very basis of the modern anti-vax movement, has been called a fraud, has been shown to be guilty of scientific misconduct, shown to have had a massive conflict of interest in his study, shown to have acted unethically, and simply shown to have been wrong. I mean, sheesh.Vaccines don't have toxins in them at anywhere near the levels needed to cause problems (as doctors say, dose makes the toxin). Vaccines are effective, their benefits vastly outweigh any small risk, and they are a medical triumph...." see full article

1326 days ago | nytimes
California Mandates Vaccines for Schoolchildren

"...Despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines are an essential public health measure, the number of unvaccinated children in California has been rising, partly because personal and religious exemptions have been easy to obtain.Doctors say that parents who decline vaccines for their children, taking heart from the fact that most other children are immunized and unlikely to spread diseases like measles, have helped create pockets of dangerously low immunity levels in particular schools and communities...." see full article

1326 days ago | time
Jerry Brown Must Sign the California Vaccine Bill - TIME
"...California does not often make common cause with Mississippi and West Virginia. America's blue-red divide doesn't come any wider than it does between the liberal laboratory of the Pacific West and the conservative cornerstones of the old south. But with a single signature on a single bill, California Gov. Jerry Brown ensured that the largest state in the nation joined the two far smaller ones in what ought to be a simple, primal mission: keeping children healthy.The law, which passed the California legislature with bipartisan majorities, does a straightforward job removing the religious and personal belief exemptions that allowed parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. The legislation leaves standing the medical exemption the waiver families receive when a child has a manifest medical condition like a compromised immune system that would make vaccines dangerous. Under the new rules, families without the medical waiver face a choice: get your kids the shots or prepare to home-school them, which ensures they get an education but protects other children from whatever pathogens they may be carrying...." see full article

1326 days ago | latimes
Will science rule in Jerry Brown's decision on California vaccine bill?
"...For too long, non-vaccinating parents have been getting a free ride off the rest who do the responsible thing; they then use the low rates of illness to claim that immunization obviously isn't necessary. It didn't take long for that argument to start showing holes, when cases of measles broke out last winter in a state that had eliminated the disease.Or, as Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Sam Ramon) put it: I'm a fierce supporter of parent choice in this decision. But I also believe that with choice comes personal responsibility. The anti-vaccine arguments have included some strange assertions, such as the existence of a "secret" federal board to pay damages to children harmed by vaccines, and the idea that we don't need vaccines because killer diseases such as polio have run their course. Outbreaks run their course much of the time -- often leaving death and tremendous suffering in their wake. Diseases, on the other hand, don't just go away. Polio was afflicting thousands of people in India every year until an effective vaccination campaign brought the number of wild polio cases down to zero earlier this decade...." see full article

1326 days ago | qz
Californias governor signs a law that makes parents vaccinate their kidsregardless of their personal beliefs
"...After clean water, vaccines have improved health more than any any other medical advancement in history, according to the World Health Organization. Since introducing vaccinations, the US has largely stamped out measles and a slew of other insidious diseases that in particular can be devastating to children. However, the recent emergence of the anti-vaxxer movement, which objects to immunizations on the basis of specious claims that vaccines cause autism and other harm to children, is threatening to reverse those successes.Last year, the US experienced 23 outbreaks, including one that sickened 383 people (most of them Amish and living in Ohio) for a total of 668 cases. As of late May, health authorities have recorded 173 measles cases. Whooping cough (a.k.a. pertussis) is making a big comeback, too...." see full article

1326 days ago | mic
California Has Officially Approved Mandatory Vaccines for All Children
"...The emergence of a disease thought be have been eliminated only 15 years ago was largely blamed on dangerously low vaccination rates among Californians in recent years.The trend, mostly among the state's more affluent citizens, caught on after a now-debunked study claiming a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism the latter of which has risen dramatically in recent years. With the support of vocal advocates like actress Jenny McCarthy, vaccination rates among some wealthy Californian communities fell to levels comparable to South Sudan. Thanks to vaccine skepticism around the country, other diseases like whooping cough and mumps, which once only posed a threat to Oregon Trail avatars, have leaped into the 21st century...." see full article

1326 days ago | motherjones
Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Landmark Bill Requiring Childhood Vaccinations

"...Vaccines are extremely effective at preventing illness and are championed across all health agencies, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the World Health Organization. Still, there's still a large contingent of anti-vaxxers, and the legislation was hotly contested. The LA Times reports that Sen. Pan has received death threats and his foes have even filed for his recall.Gov. Brown acknowledged how divisive the issue has become, but stressed how important vaccination is to keeping people healthy: "The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."..." see full article

1326 days ago | csmonitor
California tightens vaccination exemptions for kids: how parents see it
"...There is another way. A number of states, including Michigan, have been tightening their exemption policies. As families get ready to go back to school in Michigan this year, they will have to sit through several education sessions if they want a vaccination waiver, instead of simply printing out a form and handing it in at school.That policy shift is expected to cut the number of parents who get waivers by 30 to 50 percent, Largent says. We can use softer coercion methods and have warmer and more cooperative relationships between health care providers and parents . I think that will lead to more people being vaccinated, but it's harder. It requires continued investment and effort. ..." see full article

1326 days ago | wired

"...Now, there are those who might say vaccines are perfectly safe, so what's the harm in requiring them. Like a seatbelt, right? But vaccines are not quite like seatbelts. For one thing, if your seatbelt goes wrong, or isn't really that safe, you can sue the car manufacturer, or you can stop buying its cars.Or, if a drug you take turns out to have severe side effects, and if it turns out the company possibly knew about those potential side effects and suppressed the research data, you can sue the company. (Or, less dramatically, if you're taking a drug that makes you feel terrible, you can stop taking it.) The Merck/Vioxx scandal is a good example of this. Accused of withholding clinical research data about the side effects of the pain killer, Merck eventually paid a settlement of almost $1 billion...." see full article

1326 days ago | mercurynews
California vaccine bill SB 277 signed into law by Jerry Brown - San Jose Mercury News
"...Brown's decision Tuesday also aligns with the opinions of two-thirds of Californians, who believe children should not be allowed to attend public school unless they are vaccinated, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll.Still, opponents say the bill will be a hardship on many parents whose unvaccinated kids now can only attend private home schools or learn through independent off-campus studies. And, they say, some vaccines harm some children, and parents should have the right to protect their children...." see full article

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