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Taking Vaccination Decision Out Of Local Doctors’ Hands

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Sacramento, CA – Who should have the say on child vaccinations is a question California lawmakers are taking up.

The legislation announced Tuesday may give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power to decide which children shouldn’t be vaccinated before attending school. It would also let state and county health officials revoke medical exemptions granted by doctors if they are found to be fraudulent or contradict federal immunization standards. That legislation is needed, according to supporters, to crack down on some unscrupulous doctors who are helping parents avoid vaccinating their children.

Measles outbreaks in New York, Washington and elsewhere have fueled the call for the proposed changes. In fact, last week a health alert sent out by the Calaveras County Health Department, as reported here, detailed a confirmed case of the viral disease in a girl that had recently returned to Valley Springs from a trip overseas. Due to the child’s contact with others and their possible exposure, residents in neighboring Amador County were also notified.

On Tuesday, Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita revealed more details surround the case. He updated, as reported here, that the girl was recovering and no secondary cases had been reported.

Opponents of the measure argue that this isn’t needed because California’s immunization rate already is high. However, data from 2017 showed that while between 88-89 percent of children in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties were vaccinated, that lags behind the state average of nearly 96-percent. California eliminated non-medical immunization exemptions in 2016.