State Senator Pulls Bill That Would Eliminate Vaccine Exemptions


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

California Senator helped propose two bills dedicated to increasing the vaccination effort in California in January of the legislative session, which garnered pushback among constituents.

Sandhya Ganesan, Co-Editor In Chief

California State Senator Richard Pan pulled one of two bills introduced in January of the current legislative session designed to bolster vaccination rates in schools, citing difficulty in improving child access to Covid-19 vaccinations – a key component of the bill.

The bill, SB 871, generated pushback among many Californians who wanted a personal belief exemption. Both bills are public health bills that would aid in vaccination efforts in light of the ongoing pandemic. 

SB-866 allows minors 12 years and older to consent to get vaccines that meet specified federal agency criteria, and would allow vaccine providers to administer a vaccine. It does not permit any other service outside of the provider’s scope of practice to be administered. 

SB-871 builds upon the vaccine requirements that need to be complied with before a governing authority unconditionally admits an individual into any public or private elementary or secondary school, child-care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home or a development center. Existing legislation entails that to be admitted as a pupil, individuals need to be fully immunized against a variety of diseases including measles, hepatitis B, mumps, pertussis, and any other disease deemed appropriate by the State Department of Public Health.

Both bills build on existing vaccination protocols, and would prohibit unconditional admission of a student without full immunization against COVID-19.

In addition, the bill would remove the ability for a governing authority to unconditionally admit students despite their status for hepatitis B vaccination that is allowed until 7th grade of public or private schools.

Because implementation poses extra work for schools, a state-mandated local program would be necessary. In addition, the bill removes personal belief exemptions present in existing laws. 

CUSD’s  Board of Trustees expressed their opinion about the bill in a resolution 2122-43, saying they were, “seriously concerned the passage and adoption of California Senate Bill 871 (Pan) will result in substantial numbers of California families choosing to leave traditional in-person K-12 schools, thereby crippling California’s existing public and private school systems and resulting in the loss of many school staff jobs…”