Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vaccination Bill Clears Hurdle in California

A CDC map of measles outbreaks

A California state bill that requires vaccinations for all children, except for those with a medical condition, has made another critical move through the state Senate. After being amended, the bill passed through the Senate Education Committee. Th bill still needs to go through another committee before coming to a vote on the Senate floor. It must then be voted on by the Assembly.

The recent measles outbreak was the catalyst for this bill, after 102 people, many of whom were not vaccinated, fell ill after visiting Disneyland. While the percentage of children who lack all vaccines is still low, it has more than doubled since 2000.

Personally, I am in favor of this bill. I liken it to requiring health insurance; the chance of something catastrophic happening is rather low, but the more people who take precautions, the safer it is for everyone. In the case of vaccines, this protects those who are medically unable to be vaccinated via herd immunity. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause any kind of autism. The chance of any serious reaction to the specific vaccine that many people are worried about, the MMR vaccine, is less than 1 in 1,000,000. While parents are free to make decisions that only affect themselves, but when their decisions can easily cause great harm to others, the state should step in.

Should parents be required to vaccinate their children?
Is this bill an infringement on parental rights?
If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, should they be held responsible for any preventable illnesses spread by their children?

2 comments:

John Graham said...

I am on board with the idea of requiring vaccinations for children regardless of parents wishes. Yes, while I'd like to believe that a parent knows whats best for their child, I simply don't see any evidence why someone shouldn't be vaccinated for a possibly lethal illness.

Looking at it from the parent's perspective, yes, someone may view this as an infringement on parental rights. But what about the rights of the children? Who's their advocate for their own betterment and protection? A five year old wouldn't be able to coerce their parents to vaccinate them so it makes perfectly reasonable sense that the CA state government is filling this role. Are we going to value as a society a parents right to their property, or the child's right to live.

When it comes down to it, since there are no foreseeable threats from getting immunized, parents have no reason to deny responsibility for the transmittance of diseases to others due to negligence regarding their own child.

I guess the only problem with this bill would be the imminent costs, would these be paid by the state government through taxes?

Netta Wang 7 said...

I agree with John that it just factually makes sense to require children to be vaccinated. It is fine to want to put yourself in danger, but when you are risking other people's lives, and your child who doesn't have a say, that is unjust. Although I know some religions are against the use of vaccines, in the past religious exemption has not been successful. For example, when multiple children died of treatable illnesses because their parents refused them medical attention due to their religion (Christian Science), the parents were held accountable to manslaughter.