Parents Debate on Children's Vaccination Requirements for School in California - NBC Bay Area

Parents Debate on Children's Vaccination Requirements for School in California

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    Parents Debate on Children's Vaccination Requirements for School in California

    The battle over vaccination is heating up with some last minute political wrangling. The big question--should all children be required to have vaccinations or be banned from school? This idea causing a lot of controversy. Bob Redell reports. (Published Monday, May 11, 2015)

    The battle over vaccination is heating up with some last minute political wrangling.

    The big question--should all children be required to have vaccinations or be banned from school? This idea causing a lot of controversy.

    Elaine Shtein of San Jose is preparing signs to protest Monday against Senate Bill 277. The proposed legislation would require parents to vaccinate their children or home school them.

    "It's very severe legislation that is overreaching parent's rights to choose what gets injected into their children," Shtein said.

    Elaine's 6-year-old son Jackson has autism, and she believes vaccines may have played a role. This is why she has not had her 10-year-old daughter Sophia complete her boosters. She said if the proposed legislation passes, it will uproot her kids' lives.

    “I would be home schooling an 8-year-old third grader and a severely vaccine-injured 6-year-old,” Shtein said.

    Proponents of the bill said the legislation will protect the community and prevent the resurgence of preventable diseases like we saw in California during a recent measles outbreak.

    State Sen. Richard Pan is a pediatrician who authored the bill.

    “We do not need to have families worry about having their children exposed to a very preventable disease and end up having children injured in the hospital, or god forbid die because we had one these diseases,” Pan said.

    Dr. Pan said the bill would also repeal the personal beliefs exemption for vaccinations, which would increase the number of kids getting vaccinated. State records show more than 13,000 California kindergartners did not get vaccinated because of either personal or religious beliefs.

    And in a new development, Dr. Pan plans to change the bill to essentially grandfather in many public and private school students whose parents have claimed personal belief exemptions. Shtein said she still opposes the bill and contends the current system is working to protect our kids health.

    "We don’t want to be told what to inject in our kids," she said. "What's next? Telling kids the next vitamin that they all must take?"

    Senator Pan dropped a key requirement that schools notify parents of immunization rates at their children's schools. SB 277 may go to a full Senate vote as early as this week. If it becomes law, California would become the third state to allow only medical exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements.

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