GOP California Lawmaker Opposes Required Vaccines For Kids (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A new California bill, SB 277, would require parents to have their children vaccinated if their kids attend public or private school.

The bill, sponsored by Democrat California Sen. Richard Pan, would do away with a personal belief exemption that California parents can currently use to prevent their children from being vaccinated for any reason.

Under the proposed bill, the only reason a child would be unvaccinated would be for medical reasons. 

A growing movement of parents, known as anti-vaxxers, refuse to vaccinate their children, often because they believe debunked Internet rumors about vaccines causing autism.

According to ThinkProgress, Republican State Assembly Leader Kristin Olsen explained why she opposes SB 277 during a radio interview last week (video below):

"I think what it is this is an example of people overreacting to incidences, right? So at Disneyland earlier this year when we had the measles outbreak, and that was of concern, I think this was an overreaction to that situation. One hundred and twenty-five people got sick, that wasn't a good thing, but there's also nothing to demonstrate that this new bill would have done anything to avoid that outbreak then. And so what we need to make sure in Sacramento is that we’re making decisions based on logic and sound data, not based on emotional reactions to one-time incidents. And I think this bill is a reaction."

NBC News reports: "Many who fell ill in the Disneyland episode were not immunized against measles. Some cited personal reasons for refusing shots, and others were too young to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine."

Several recent highly publicized incidents of disease outbreaks that could have been prevented with vaccinations.

In 2010, more than 9,000 people in California were affected by a whooping cough epidemic fueled by vaccination refusal, noted NPR. KQED reported in 2014 that the opt-out rate for vaccinations among children, based on their parents' decisions, had doubled from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2013-2014 school year. A mumps outbreak in 2011-2012 was linked to an unvaccinated California college student, noted BuzzFeed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinations for children and infants.

(Note: Olsen's comments begin at :25 mark)

Sources: ThinkProgress, NPR, KQED, CDC, BuzzFeed, NBC News
Image Credit: Kristen Olson official portrait