While a move to abolish the vaccine "personal belief exemption" has dominated headlines in the last weeks across California, two other vaccine-related bills are making their way through the Legislature a bit more quietly. One would require preschool and child care workers to have certain vaccinations; another seeks to improve vaccination rates for 2-year-olds.
If SB792 becomes law, California will be the first state in the country to require that all preschool and child care workers be immunized against measles, pertussis and the flu.
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Montebello) says that most people are startled to find out such a mandate is not already in place. "Most people … say 'We don't do that now?' " he said. "So this is something that's needed."
Mendoza says that the bill is designed to protect children who cannot be vaccinated or fully vaccinated because of their age or medical condition. Ensuring that adults in close contact with the children are vaccinated will help protect these children.
As the bill currently reads, violations would be a criminal offense. Mendoza says lawmakers are working to change that.