California SB 277 has been signed into law, removing the personal belief exemption from California's school child vaccination requirements. This moves California from the position of one of the most generously worded exemptions all the way over to one of the most tightly constrained exemption systems. Of course, some exemptions will still be available, even once SB 277 takes effect on July 1, 2016, so California will not be the strictest state but this is still a big move. California is not alone, Vermont has also recently enacted new legislation removing the philosophical exemption.
Of course, what SB 277 is also interesting for what it does not do. It does not require the disclosure of school specific vaccination rates, the way Vermont's new statute does, for example. Several other states have pondered various systems of disclosure (vaccination rates, the enrollment of a non-vaccinated student, etc.) without specifying what redress might be available to concerned parents.
And it is worth noting that there have been attempts in states lacking personal belief exemptions to create them.
We are, as they say, conflicted. What do we owe each other in our communal lives? What do we owe each other's children?
Why would California exclude the non-vaccinated from public school attendance but allow non-vaccinated home school students onto the campus to participate in activities that are not classroom based? Because less physical contact and fewer points of contagion occur on the contact sports playing field than in the reading circle?
If SB 277 is the triumph of science it is touted to be, I'd rather hear more about the science behind the exemptions.