Bonta calls vaccination bill, SB 276, a crucial step to protect the public

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Today, I voted for SB 276. This bill is a crucial step to protect the public, especially people who cannot be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons. I have long believed and advocated that those who need medical exemptions should be able to obtain them. But I want to be clear:  No one is entitled to an illegitimate or fraudulent medical exemption.

I feel compelled to address some of the blatant misinformation that has been spread regarding SB 276. 

Here are the facts:

Doctors are not capped at providing 5 medical exemptions per year (p. 10, line 5-6).  Doctors can grant as many medical exemptions as they wish.  If a doctor grants 5 or more medical exemptions in a calendar year, those medical exemptions will be reviewed. Further, the reviews of medical exemptions will be conducted by clinically trained doctors, not “bureaucrats” (p. 10, lines 14, 25-26). Also, family medical history can be the sole basis for a legitimate medical exemption (p. 10, line 16-17). This bill is compliant with all state and federal privacy laws (p. 11, line 27-28) to protect sensitive patient information. Neither SB 276 nor existing law requires non-consensual vaccinations.

I have been heavily engaged in the details and impacts of this bill over the last few weeks, speaking at length with opponents, supporters, constituents, parents, medical experts, and attorneys.  I have also communicated directly with the bill’s author, Senator Dr. Richard Pan, to express my concerns about the previous version of SB 276 and offered suggestions to strengthen it by focusing on preserving the doctor-patient relationship and a robust set of true medical exemptions, while protecting the public from potentially deadly and harmful outbreaks.