Move against California vaccination law fails

Oct 08, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT
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Getty Images

California is the third state to eliminate religious and other personal exemptions to vaccinations, and an effort had gone underway this year to repeal the law tightening vaccination requirements for students. That effort failed to garner enough signatures. Reuters reports:

The effort was part of a backlash against a bill signed into law in June by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown that requires pupils to be vaccinated against childhood diseases unless they have a medical reason to refuse. It was passed after a measles outbreak among unvaccinated people at Disneyland last year.
That law, which goes into effect next year, makes California the third state to eliminate religious and other personal exemptions to vaccinations.
Opponents of the new rules, some fearing a long-debunked link between vaccines and autism, and others opposed to the state's removal of a religious exemption for parents who want to opt out of vaccination, vowed to take the issue to voters.
But a report posted Thursday on the website of Secretary of State Alex Padilla showed the effort had garnered only about 234,000 signatures, well short of the 365,880 signatures needed for a measure to make the November 2016 ballot.
The referendum drive was headed by former Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernardino County and was a mostly volunteer effort — difficult in a state where most successful initiative drives employ paid signature gatherers.
“In spite of the herculean effort by thousands of volunteers and some paid signature gatherers, we fell short,” Donnelly said by telephone Thursday. “Even though we fell short, this fight for parents’ rights is not over.”
The law eliminates personal-belief exemptions from the state’s immunization requirements for schoolchildren. Donnelly and other opponents say that deprives parents of the right to choose what is best for their children.
Many of the opponents also do not believe scientific studies indicating that vaccines are safe and necessary to avoid outbreaks of serious diseases, including measles.