Technology

Revised CA vaccine bill would revoke exemptions from infamous anti-vax doc

Enlarge / Dr. Robert Sears examines 2-month-old twins. Sears is among the doctors who have been found to have issued fraudulent medical vaccination exemptions. Getty | Don Bartletti

Hundreds of dubious medical exemptions handed out by Californias infamous anti-vaccine pediatrician, Dr. Robert Sears, would be revoked under fresh amendments to a state bill designed to boost vaccination rates.

The bills author, state Senator (and MD) Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), came to an agreement on the amendments late last week with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The bill, SB 276, aims to crack down on bogus medical exemptions, which surged in the wake of the states 2015 law eliminating vaccine exemptions based on personal and religious beliefs. Dr. Pan was prompted to author the bill after discovering that some “unscrupulous” doctors had been exempting children from vaccine requirements based on questionable or outright sham medical reasons—sometimes for hefty fees. The exemptions left some communities under-protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

As originally written, SB 276 would require doctors in the state to use only federally-accepted criteria for issuing the exemptions and install state oversight of the exemptions and the doctors who issue them. State health officials would have the power to revoke exemptions found to be fraudulent.

SB 276 has already passed the Legislature. But Gov. Newsom requested changes before signing it into law. Under last weeks agreement with Pan, Newsom agreed to sign the bill once the amendments are approved by lawmakers under a separate bill, SB 714, which requires approval by September 13. Lawmakers have already said that they support the amendments, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement, Pan wrote:

As the latest measles outbreak threatens the countrys elimination status, California acted to keep children safe at school by abolishing non-medical exemptions. Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous physicians are selling inappropriate medical exemptions, and we need SB276 stop the corruption of medical exemptions that endanger children. I appreciate the governors commitment to sign SB 276 with amendments contained in SB 714 that we both agree upon to ensure we maintain the community immunity needed to protect our kids.

“Perfectly satisfied”

Some of Newsoms requested changes appeared to weaken the bill, including his proposal to remove SB 276s requirement that doctors swear under penalty of perjury that theyre not charging fees for exemptions. Newsom also pushed to grandfather in all current medical exemptions, which some feared could lead to a rush in exemptions before the law came into effect.

But the amendment in SB 714 comes with the catch that any existing exemptions would need to be renewed when a child changes school or enters kindergarten or 7th grade. Thus, existing medical exemptions would no longer be considered permanent.

Another catch is that SB 714 would invalidate any medical exemptions writtenRead More – Source

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close