California Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing back against a bill that would cut down on vaccination exemptions for children around the state.
"I like doctor-patient relationships. Bureaucratic relationships are more challenging for me,” Newsom told reporters last weekend at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco. "I’m a parent. I don’t want someone that the governor appointed to make a decision for my family."
Authored by California state Senator and pediatrician Dr. Richard Pan, SB 276 would limit doctors from granting medical exemptions for children's vaccinations. The bill would require doctors get a State Department of Health Official to sign off on the exemption before it could be granted to the patient.
California has some of the strictest vaccination laws in the nation and requires school children to have up-to-date immunizations before they can attend public or private schools. Doctors can excuse a child from some or all of the vaccinations if they believe there is a valid medical reason for doing so.
"So [parents are] going to these unscrupulous physicians who end up basically selling these medical exemptions," said Blumberg.
A recent outbreak of the measles has seen 981 cases across the nation, with 46 here in California.
Blumberg said allergic reactions to vaccinations are extraordinarily rare and a slew of scientific studies have proven their effectiveness and safety for most people.
"For example, with the measles vaccine, it's about one in a million doses, that's how rare it is," said Blumberg. "So there's no question the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the small risks."
SB 276 passed the Senate on May 22 and is currently working its way through the state Assembly for consideration later this summer. Opponents to the bill say doctors, and not state public health officials, should be the ones in charge of vaccinations.
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