Take Action: Ask Governor Brown to Sign Bill To Protect School Children from Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Today California lawmakers passed SB 277, a bill that will eliminate exemptions (other than for medical reasons) from mandated vaccinations for school children. California will be the largest state to join ranks with West Virginia and Mississippi, who have declined non-medical exemptions from school vaccine mandates for many years.
The New York Times posted a map depicting the seriousness of the issue in California, where in some areas up to 20 percent of kindergartners are opted out of vaccines. Details on the efforts of Californian’s in support of this bill are detailed in a recent SOP blog post.
Every Child By Two encourages readers to fax Governor Jerry Brown to urge his signature on the bill. If you are not from California, please let the Governor know that you support his efforts and hope that your home state will follow California’s lead. Past bills of this nature have been watered down by the Governor, therefore it is important that he understand that the public is behind California in their efforts to protect school children.
The following letter was sent by ECBT last week in anticipation of the vote.
June 26, 2015
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Dear Governor Brown,
I write to you today on behalf of our organization which was founded nearly twenty-five years ago by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers to ensure the timely immunization of all children. In the 1980’s these two ladies were instrumental in helping to pass the laws that exist in every state requiring school children to be fully vaccinated. In 1991, after an outbreak of measles that took the lives of too many children, they founded Every Child By Two.
As you can imagine, we were very distressed to witness the most recent measles outbreak that began in California and rapidly spread to 131 people here in the U.S. and more in neighboring countries as exposed park goers returned to their homes, carrying the virus with them. As of the end of May 2015 approximately 178 total cases of measles have been reported in seventeen U.S. states. This latest measles outbreak provides yet another reminder of the importance of timely vaccinations as most of the individuals infected with measles were intentionally unvaccinated. Sadly, some of those who became infected were children under a year old and therefore too young to be vaccinated against measles. As you are aware, measles is considered the “canary in the coal mine” as it is highly contagious. However we have far too many parents who come to ECBT after losing their children to diseases such as whooping cough, influenza and other deadly, but preventable diseases.
We are elated that the California legislature will pass SB277 into law, knowing that it will protect the lives of the school children of your state. As you know, for diseases such as measles, a 95% vaccination rate is required to protect the community. When in some areas up to 25% of parents are exempting their children from vaccines due to unfounded fears about safety, it leaves all school children vulnerable to dangerous diseases.
I can assure you that the majority of our 82,000 Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook followers are highly supportive of California’s efforts. In fact, our messaging regarding these efforts has received more views and shares than any other posts in recent years. We are encouraged that you will do the right thing by signing this critical bill.
Amy Pisani, Executive Director
Every Child By Two
Cc: Dr. Richard Pan, CA State Senator