Vote on California’s “Personal Belief” Vaccination Exemption


The measles outbreak has caused a national stir over the past several weeks. Families have been posting on social media urging their school communities to get their kids vaccinated, and politicians at all levels have been weighing in on the issue.

So far, 121 cases of measles have been documented according to the Center for Disease Control. California has been put in the spotlight, as the outbreak is believed to have originated in two Disneyland theme parks in the southern part of the state.

One of the key issues being debated now is the state’s relatively lenient stance on vaccinations. Currently, families in the golden state can opt out of vaccinating their children due to both religious belief as well as out of simple “personal belief,” – that is if they are opposed philosophically to vaccinations. Only 19 other states share California’s policy of allowing religious and personal belief exemptions.

Despite this lenience, for decades the state saw low exemption rates. Throughout the 1990s, rates of personal belief exemptions hovered below 1% of California kindergarteners. This changed, however, following the publication of a now debunked 1998 report that suggested a link between the measles vaccine and autism. Rates of personal belief unvaccinated children in California have climbed, spiking to 3% of all kindergarteners in 2012.

Now with the outbreak of measles gripping the country, several lawmakers have called for reform of California’s laws. State Senator Richard Pan, who is himself a physician and longtime critic of vaccination exemptions, recently announced that he would introduce legislation to end the personal belief exemption. He has indicated that his bill would maintain the exemption for religious belief.

Where do you stand on the issue? Should we do away with the “personal belief” exemption, or is it legitimate to allow families to opt out of vaccinations if they choose? Cast your vote on the initiative below.

Should California end the “personal belief” vaccination exemption?

Ever since outbreak of measles in California, the state’s personal belief vaccination exemption has come under intense scrutiny.

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