The California Assembly just passed one of the nation’s strictest vaccination bills.
The rule eliminates the option for parents to abstain from vaccination due to religious or other personal beliefs and requires all school-aged children to have undergone 10 complete vaccinations before enrolling in California schools, the New York Times reports.
The bill passed with bipartisan support with 46 in favour and 30 against the measure.
The bill received more public testimony than any other bill this year, California Assembly member Marc Levine, one of the bill’s supporters, said at a press conference.
He also discussed some of his reasoning behind supporting the bill:
“We live in a society where we have a social responsibility to act in a manner to protect not only ourselves, but others as well. That means that we respect our neighbours and don’t play loud music at 2 a.m., that we drive safely on the road, that we pay taxes even though none of us wants to…This social responsibility also includes protecting children from preventable disease.”
Perhaps the most compelling testimony in favour of the bill came from seven-year-old Rhett Krawitt, whose childhood leukemia made him ineligible for vaccination and thus highly susceptible to the kids around him who might get sick.
“Vaccines save lives,” said Krawitt.
Others like Krawitt — anyone with an immune condition that renders them unable to get vaccinated and many elderly people — depend on the collective immunity of the public, whose vaccinations create an environment where he won’t encounter the preventable diseases they’re vulnerable to.
The bill was not without opposition, however.
Hundreds of parents flooded the state Capitol recently during legislative hearings about the bill to show their opposition to the measure. Many of them say they don’t believe vaccines are safe, the LA Times reports, although the science has shown that to be overwhelmingly untrue.
Watch the press conference from the California State Assembly, which features Rhett Krawitt and Marc Levine, below:
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