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Father of young Leukemia survivor reacts to new vaccine law

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Carl Krawitt's son, Rhett, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two years old.
Carl Krawitt's son, Rhett, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two years old.

CA Gov. Brown signed one of the toughest vaccination laws in the country Tuesday. Vaccine advocate Carl Krawitt speaks with Take Two.

Governor Jerry Brown signed SB-277 - the highly controversial vaccine exemption bill - into law Tuesday. California will now have one of the toughest school vaccination laws in the country.

The new law will require almost all children to be fully vaccinated in order to attend school - public or private -  regardless of their parents' personal or religious beliefs. The only exception would be for children with medical conditions.

The legislation spurred heated, sometimes raucous debate leading up to its approval. 

Check out the latest from KPCC 's Health Reporter Rebecca Plevin on SB-277 here.

One of the law's most vehement and constant supporters is Carl Krawitt, whose son Rhett is a Leukemia survivor and has a compromised immune system and, therefore, could not previously be vaccinated.

Krawitt previously told Take Two, “Our goal is not to keep people home from school, we just want to find another vehicle to force parents to have the conversation with their pediatrician and realize how important it is to immunize their kids, not just for their own kid’s safety, but to also protect those that are vulnerable like my son.”

Krawitt's son also joined the fight. At only six years old, Rhett testified before the California Senate Education Committee, imploring lawmakers to pass SB-277, adding, "Thank you for making sure that kids like me don't get sick at school."

Now, at just seven years of age, Rhett is an experienced vaccine and healthcare advocate. His dad, Carl, returned to Take Two Tuesday after news broke that the bill would become law. He told host Alex Cohen that he couldn't be more proud of his son and pleased that their family's efforts have proven successful.

But, he added, their fight doesn't end here. The Krawitt family plan to continue to fundraise for research to cure diseases like cancer that have no vaccines. And now that Rhett is healthy enough and almost up-to-date on his vaccine schedule, they plan to take a much needed family vacation. 

Click on the audio player above to listen to Take Two's entire interview with Carl Krawitt.

KPCC's Health Reporter Rebecca Plevin joined Take Two for a wrap-up on the fight over SB-277 leading up to its passage. Click on the audio player above to listen.

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