Governor Signs New Vaccine Laws

After expressing some last minute reservations, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two vaccine bills into law on Monday, both authored by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). His signature came after a day of protests at the Capitol that resulted in seven arrests

SB 276 will invite scrutiny of medical waivers that have allowed a number of children to bypass current vaccination requirements. Pan and SB 276 supporters believe many of these waivers are fraudulent, which explains why they exploded in number after California got rid of personal belief exemptions.

A companion bill, SB 714, was drawn up quickly to assuage the governor’s concerns and also received his signature on Monday. SB 714 will “allow kids with medical exemptions to continue skipping vaccines until their next immunization requirement, unless they were administered by a doctor disciplined by medical boards,” the Sacramento Bee notes. 

“Pan also conceded to Newsom’s demand that doctors would not be held liable under penalty of perjury, and review of physicians issuing five or more exemptions would apply only to those administered beginning in 2020.”

“I thank the governor for standing with science, and once again making California a leader in safeguarding children and communities,” Pan said in a statement Monday. “It is my hope that parents whose vulnerable children could die from vaccine-preventable diseases will be reassured that we are protecting those communities that have been left vulnerable because a few unscrupulous doctors are undermining community immunity.”

SB 276’s signing could be a game-changer for some California schools where medical exemption rates have risen as high as 64% of the student body. But those opposed to the bill have vowed to fight on and are now pursuing a statewide ballot measure. 


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