Senator Richard Pan of Sacramento has written legislation that would require all public school students in the state of California to be vaccinated. If the bill were to pass, it would get rid of the personal-belief exemption where parents have the right to refuse to vaccinate their child due to their own belief system, with the only exemptions being medical reasons. Anti-Vaccinators would be forced to pull their children from the public school system, and either home-school them, or send them to private school. The bill has sparked a lot of controversy between parents and educators who believe that vaccines have harmful side effects, and those who do not.
Pro-Vaccinators feel that without the requirement, children with health issues preventing them from being vaccinated are at an unfair advantage, and will be the ones most at risk for contracting a disease from an un-vaccinated child with a normal immune system that was otherwise eliminated a century ago. There are many controversies when it comes to education, such as standardized tests and dress codes that naysayers have to put up with, because they are for the greater good, and Pro-Vaccinators feel the requirement should be considered as such. Anti-Vaccinators feel that there is a correlation between autism and vaccines. With the ‘organic,’ ‘all natural’ movement, people are paying closer attention to what is going into their bodies, and many feel that the chemicals used in vaccines produce harmful side effects that outweigh the medical benefits. The U.S. was founded on freedom of belief and Anti-Vaccinators feel the right to choose to be vaccinated should fall under this inalienable right.
This particular controversy results from the measles outbreak at Disneyland earlier this year, when several unvaccinated children and adults, many of the children being too young or frail to be vaccinated, were infected. This bill is by far the most radical of its kind in the United States. Other states have opted to make opting out harder, instead of eliminating it. Florida, Texas and Minnesota have the most restrictions on opting out, and Washington state noted that the percentage of parents opting out due to personal beliefs went down 25% after requiring them to provide a doctor’s note saying they’d been educated on the issue.
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