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Assembly bill makes it harder for parents not to vaccinate

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  University of Miami pediatrician Judith L. Schaechter, M.D. (L) gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office at the Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV, is given to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer. Recently the issue of the vaccination came up during the Republican race for president when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer "dangerous" and said that it may cause mental retardation, but expert opinion in the medical field contradicts her claim. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential contender, has taken heat from some within his party for presiding over a vaccination program in his home state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A young girl gets a vaccination.

Right now when a child is enrolled in school their parents are legally obligated to have them vaccinated.

Right now when a child is enrolled in school their parents are legally obligated to have them vaccinated. However, if a parent forgets or would prefer not to vaccinate their child for religious or moral reasons, they can certainly do so. All they have to do is sign the portion of the immunization record that says this: “I hereby request exemption of the child, named on the front, from the immunization requirements for school/child care entry because all or some immunizations are contrary to my beliefs. I understand that in case of an outbreak of any one of these diseases, the child may be temporarily excluded from attending for his/her protection.” This form is available through the school and can be signed the day the parents shows up to enroll their child.

But a new bill making it’s was through the California state assembly is seeking to change that. AB 2109 would require parents that want to opt out to bring with them on the day of enrollment a written statement from their doctor, or another licensed healthcare practitioner, that states they have been informed of the benefots and risks of vaccines and the communicable disease they prevent. In addition parents would also have to bring another written statement saying they heard and understood the information provided.

The goal here is to increase the number of children receiving vaccines, but will it work? Opting out has been on the rise in recent years, will parents who are die-hard anti-vaccine advocates really change their minds after consulting with their doctor? Does this bill just create more hurdles for parents? Or can it increase protections against communicable disease for children?


Dr. Richard Pan, Democratic Assemblyman from Sacramento, Pediatrician, author of AB 2109

Dr. Jay Gordon, Pediatrician, his practice is in Santa Monica. Dr. Gordon has been deviating from the vaccine schedule for more than 30 years.

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