After a major measles outbreak was linked to Disneyland this year, the Governor of California has signed a bill that will prohibit vaccine exemptions for religious and personal reasons. In the outbreak, 173 people were diagnosed with measles across the U.S., and 117 of those cases were linked to Disneyland. During a time period where vaccinating children has become a huge dispute, many are outraged, saying the bill takes away parental rights. The new legislation will only allow approved medical reasons for vaccination exemptions. A California Senator, Richard Pan, stated “Years of anti-science, anti-vaccine misinformation have taken its toll on immunization rates to the point that the public is now in danger.” Pan, a former pediatrician, understands that people at high-risk such as “children, pregnant women, seniors and people with cancer, organ transplants and other conditions” rely on others being vaccinated to help them stay healthy – what is called “herd immunity.” If parents choose to not vaccinate their children, the children must be homeschooled, participate in private group family schooling, or receive independent study from a public school. California will be the 33rd state to have legislation of this kind.
Contributor: Claire Pacek