1:30 p.m. - State Capitol, Room 4202
California has one of the most lax vaccine-exemption laws in the United States, according to Mark Netherda, MD of the Sonoma County Medical Society.
A parent or guardian need only sign the Personal Beliefs Affidavit on the back of the California School Immunization Record for a child to be granted admission to school without immunizations
In other words, it is cheaper and easier to get a vaccine exemption, which puts other children at risk, than it is to comply with school entry laws.
“Parents are on the front line when it comes to the protecting the health of their children and their communities,” Dr. Pan said. “This bill empowers them with up-to-date, accurate information about immunizations. As a pediatrician, I have spent my career making sure families, physicians and public officials are working in unison to build healthier communities. AB 2109 strengthens this relationship through education to help save our children from infectious outbreaks that can only be prevented by working together.”
With overwhelming bipartisan support, California has passed legislation calling for children to be immunized for certain diseases that pose an immediate threat to public health. California is also one of 20 states that allow parents to sign a form that excludes their children from having to receive the immunizations. AB 2109 would simply ensure that parents receive accurate information about immunizations from a licensed health care practitioner before they decide if they will sign the form.
I have posted the current text of the bill at the bottom of this post. You can keep up with the bill at this link: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB2109&search_keywords=
Alaska's Section on Epidemiology (SOE) has published a list of recommendations to reduce outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease; "educating parents" is first on this list.
Vermont recently eliminated moved closer to eliminating all "philosophical exemptions"; at Vermont Steps Toward Improved Public Health, Public Health activist ToddW lists some of the vaccine-refusers' pet talking points about "informed consent" and "the right to refuse vaccines" and refutes them in detail.
Several people found the following confusing: If you would like to let the Health Committee know your views on making vaccine exemptions to be slightly easier and certainly less expensive than actually complying with the law and getting their children vaccinated, you can contact members of the Assembly Committee on Health, and ask them to support AB 2109. The contact link takes you to each individual Assemblyperson's contact form.
If you would like to let the Health Committee know that you support the simple provisions of AB 2109, and that you would like the Committee to approve the bill for hearing in the Assembly, the names and contact information of the Committee are listed below.
There's a sample phone script below the list; feel free to suggest other talking points in the comments
William Monning (D) - Chair
Tel: (916) 319-2027
Fax: (916) 319-2127
Contact Assembly Member William W. Monning
Dan Logue (R) - Vice Chair
Contact Assemblyman Dan Logue
Tom Ammiano (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2013
Fax: (916) 319-2113
Contact Assembly Member Tom Ammiano
Toni Atkins (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2076
Fax: (916) 319-2176
Contact Assembly Member Toni Atkins
Susan Bonilla (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2011
Fax: (916) 319-2111
Contact Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla
Mike Eng (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2049
Fax: (916) 319-2149
Contact Assembly Member Mike Eng
Martin Garrick (R)
Contact Assemblyman Martin Garrick
Richard .S Gordon (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2021
Fax: (916) 319-2121
Contact Assemblyman Richard S. Gordon
Mary Hayashi (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2018
Fax: (916) 319-2118
Contact Assembly Member Mary Hayashi
Roger Hernandez (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2057
Fax: (916) 319-2157
Contact Assembly Assistant Majority Whip Roger Hernández
Bonnie Lowenthal (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2054
Fax: (916) 319-2154
Contact Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal
Allan R. Mansoor (R)
(P) (916) 319-2068
(F) (916) 319-2168
Contact Assemblyman Allan R. Mansoor
Holly J. Mitchell (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2047
Fax: (916) 319-2147
Contact Assembly Member Holly J. Mitchell
Brian Nestande (R)
Contact Assembly Member Brian Nestande
Richard Pan (D) – sponsor
Tel: (916) 452-0505
Fax: (916) 452-5525
Contact Assembly Member Richard Pan
V. Manuel Perez (D)
Tel: (916) 319-2080
Fax: (916) 319-2180
Contact Assembly Member V. Manuel Peréz
Jim Silva (R)
Contact Assembly Member Jim Silva
Cameron Smyth (R)
Contact Assembly Member Cameron Smyth
Tel: (916) 319-2035
Fax: (916) 319-2135
Contact Assembly Member Das Williams
If you decide to phone, here is a sample Phone Script:
- Call the office number and introduce yourself and ask to talk to someone about AB 2109. If this is your assembly member’s office, let them know you are a constituent and what town/city you are from.
- Let the appropriate person know you are in favor of AB 2109 because its passage would increase vaccine uptake of the most serious infectious diseases. (If your family has been affected by someone else's vaccine refusal, be sure to mention it here.)
- Let the legislative office know that you are aware of concerted, organized out-of-state anti-vaccine activists who are targeting the Health Committee
- Let the person you are speaking to know about the distortions, outright lies and misinformation provided by anti-vaccine sites such as the National Vaccine Information Center, Sheri Tenpenny, Mercola.com, and Natural News
If you don't live in California, Public Health activist ToddW has a suggestion for you,
I encourage my readers to get in touch with their state legislators to inquire about current vaccine requirement and exemptions laws and to advocate for similar legislation as that described above. We all have a role to play in preventing outbreaks of diseases. Doing what we can to increase vaccination rates in our states is just one step we can take to help ourselves and our communities.
- If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can check vaccination exemption rates by county, town or school district at http://www.baycitizen.org/data/immunizations/
Text of the bill as it stands on March 20, 2011 reproduced below, from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_2101-2150/ab_2109_bill_20120223_introduced.html. You can keep up with the bill by going to this link: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB2109&search_keywords=
BILL NUMBER: AB 2109 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Pan
(Principal coauthor: Senator Wolk)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Fuentes)
FEBRUARY 23, 2012
An act to amend Section 120365 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to communicable disease.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 2109, as introduced, Pan. Communicable disease: immunization exemption.
Existing law prohibits the governing authority of a school or other institution from unconditionally admitting any person as a pupil of any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless prior to his or her first admission to that institution he or she has been fully immunized against various diseases, as specified. Existing law prohibits admission or advancement of a pupil to the 7th grade level without a full immunization against hepatitis B.
Existing law exempts a person from the above-described immunization requirement if the parent or guardian or other specified persons file with the governing authority a letter or affidavit stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs. However, whenever there is good cause to believe that the person has been exposed to one of the diseases, a person may be temporarily excluded from the school or institution, as specified.
This bill would require, on and after July 1, 2013, the above-described letter or affidavit to be accompanied by a form prescribed by the State Department of Public Health that includes a written statement signed by a health care practitioner, as defined, that indicates that the health care practitioner provided the parent or guardian of the person, or the person, if an emancipated minor, who is subject to the immunization requirements with information regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health risks of specified communicable diseases. The bill would also require the form to include a written statement by the parent, guardian, or person, if an emancipated minor, that indicates that he or she received the information from the health care practitioner.
By imposing new duties upon local officials, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 120365 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:
120365. (a) Immunization of a person shall not be required for admission to a school or other institution listed in Section 120335 if the parent or guardian or adult who has assumed responsibility for his or her care and custody in the case of a minor, or the person seeking admission if an emancipated minor, files with the governing authority a letter or affidavit stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs. However, whenever there
(b) On and after July 1, 2013, a separate form prescribed by the State Department of Public Health shall accompany the letter or affidavit filed pursuant to subdivision (a). The form shall include both of the following:
(1) A written statement signed by a health care practitioner that indicates that the health care practitioner provided the parent or guardian of the person, or the person if an emancipated minor, who is subject to the immunization requirements of this chapter with information regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health risks of the communicable diseases listed in Section 120335 to the person and to the community. This statement shall be signed not more than six months from the date when the person subject to the immunization requirements is first admitted to the school. If the person was admitted to the school prior to entering the 7th grade and is about to enter the 7th grade, then an additional letter or affidavit shall be filed with the written statement signed by the health care practitioner not more than six months from the first day of school for a person about to enter the 7th grade.
(2) A written statement signed by the parent or guardian of the person, or the person if an emancipated minor, who is subject to the immunization requirements of this chapter that indicates that the signor has received the information provided by the health care practitioner described in paragraph (1). This statement shall be signed not more than six months from the date when the person subject to the immunization requirements is first admitted to the school. If the person was admitted to the school prior to entering the 7th grade and is about to enter the 7th grade, then an additional letter or affidavit shall be filed with the written statement signed by the parent not more than six months from the first day of school for a person about to enter the 7th grade.
(c ) When there is good cause to believe that the person has been exposed to one of the communicable diseases listed in subdivision (a) of Section 120325, that person may be temporarily excluded from the school or institution until the local health officer is satisfied that the person is no longer at risk of developing the disease.
(d) A copy of the signed written statement shall be accepted in lieu of the original form. A signed letter from the health care practitioner that references the person's name shall be accepted in lieu of a statement on the original form.
(e) For purposes of this section, "health care practitioner" means a physician and surgeon, licensed pursuant to Section 2050 of the Business and Professions Code, a nurse practitioner who is authorized to furnish drugs pursuant to Section 2836.1 of the Business and Professions Code, or a physician assistant who is authorized to administer or provide medication pursuant to Section 3502.1 of the Business and Professions Code.
SEC. 2. If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.