The California Assembly has passed the vaccine bill opposed by activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actor Jessica Biel with a vote of 9-2.
The Hollywood Reporter says that in reaction to a national measles outbreak, the assembly backed new rules for vaccine exemptions. The 9-2 vote showed support for a modified version of the original bill but also showed that there is still disagreement in terms of vaccination policies.
California allows students exemptions from vaccines for medical reasons, but those who voted for the bill want greater scrutiny on the exemptions, saying that parents are doctor shopping for a physician who will write such a note even when it isn’t warranted.
Sen. Richard Pan, (Democrat from Sacramento) author of the bill, says that greater oversight of medical exemptions is necessary to protect children.
“California cannot allow a handful of unscrupulous physicians to put our children in danger.”
Critics argued that this is another example of government overreach, and the debate was heated, but those in favor of the bill prevailed. According to the bill, the public health department would investigate doctors who grant more than five medical exemptions a year and scrutinize schools with vaccination rates of less than 95 percent, when according to state law, all students must be vaccinated.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will sign if it reaches his desk, making it law, as measles cases are on the rise. Admitted vaccine skeptic Jessica Biel joined activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in opposing the bill, says Jezebel and both spoke to staffers about their personal belief that vaccines are both dangerous and ineffective.
A staffer who asked to remain anonymous says that Biel said she personally did not go by the normal vaccine schedule after a friend’s child reportedly suffered negative health consequences from a vaccine.
“Jessica said that her doctor recommended the regular vaccine schedule for her kid and she refused,” says the staffer. “She practically admitted to doctor shopping, which SB 276 is trying to prevent. She said she wants safe vaccines and mentioned ‘corporations’ a lot.”
Kennedy spoke out on behalf of Biel and himself, saying that they don’t like the term anti-vaxxer, but instead believe that people should have the choice whether or not to vaccinate their children without bureaucratic red tape getting in their way.
“The biggest problem with the bill, which is something I think Jessica is concerned with is that a doctor who has made a determination — if he has found children in this state whose doctors have determined that they’re too fragile to receive vaccinations — this bill would overrule the doctors and force them to be vaccinated anyway.”