Law Would Force Measles Shots on Children of "Personal Belief" Anti-Vaxxers

Sorry Jenny McCarthy followers, but your personal beliefs are no good here when it comes to vaccination for measles and other dangerous diseases.

That's the message this week from South Bay state Sen. Ben Allen who, along with Sacramento-based Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician, are proposing a law that would no longer allow parents to cite "personal beliefs" as an exemption to otherwise compulsory vaccinations for school children.

Health officials are putting much of the blame for California's measles outbreak, now affecting 99 patients from San Diego to Marin County and beyond, on parents who have not immunized their children as a result of beliefs in debunked research, touted by actress McCarthy and other Hollywood idiots, that tied vaccinations to autism.

At least 39 of this winter's cases are being tied to exposures at Disneyland December 17 through 20, state health officials said yesterday. L.A. County has seen 22 cases so far, they said.

Some conservative politicians are also placing blame for the outbreak on those who came to the country illegally. However, so far there's no evidence that immigrants are the source of the outbreak.

After an infant who was being cared for at the Infant Toddler Center on the campus of Santa Monica High School contracted the disease, school officials this week closed the facility and told the parents of 14 infants to keep their children at home for at least 21 days.

When the facility reopens only kids with documentation of a blood test proving immunization will be allowed to return, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District said in a statement yesterday.

According to the California Department of Public Health:

Child care facilities with low vaccination rates are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Some children are allowed by California law to skip immunizations if a parent submits a personal beliefs exemption (PBE) or medical exemption (PME) at enrollment. 

State epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez says he's ...

Law Would Force Measles Shots on Children of "Personal Belief" Anti-Vaxxers
Office of Sen. Ben Allen

 ... urging caution to individuals who are not vaccinated, especially infants under 12 months. Any place where large numbers of people congregate and there are a number of international visitors, like airports, shopping malls and tourist attractions, you may be more likely to find measles, which should be considered if you are not vaccinated. It is safe to visit these places, including the Disneyland Resort, if you are vaccinated. Therefore, CDPH recommends that anyone not already immunized against measles gets immunized at this time. Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.

Meanwhile, Allen's proposed law would "repeal" personal belief exemptions from vaccination requirements, although religious and health exemptions would remain. He says:

The high number of unvaccinated students is jeopardizing public health not only in schools but in the broader community. We need to take steps to keep our schools safe and our students healthy.

Pan already authored a law that required personal-belief parents to prove they've spoken to a health care practitioner about immunization before enrolling their children. That 2012 law reduced personal-belief exemptions statewide by 20 percent, Allen's office says.

But the Redondo Beach lawmaker obviously thinks that's not enough, particularly in light of the current outbreak. Measles can be deadly, especially for infants and the elderly. Allen's office says that those who don't immunize their children endanger the rest of us:

When a contagion spreads in a community with immunization rates below 90 percent, the protection provided by ‘'herd immunity’ can be at risk. This means many people are at risk of becoming infected including people who cannot be immunized, including infants, chemotherapy patients and those with HIV or other conditions.

Gov. Jerry Brown's office said this week that he's open to ending all loopholes, except health exemptions, for school immunization requirements.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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