SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Two new California bills that will restrict medical exemptions for vaccines required at public and private schools were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday.
This after hundreds of protestors filled the halls of the state Capitol as a last-ditch effort to disrupt the vote. Some protestors even chained themselves to a door blocking an entrance. At least six people were arrested, according to California Highway Patrol, for being disruptive and not complying with police
They were fighting against SB276 – a bill that would limit vaccination exemptions.
Dr. Richard Pan, the lead sponsor of the bill, says the law is designed to combat fake medical exemptions.
“I’m very numb at what just happened today,” said Heidi Munoz Gleisner, one of the protest leaders.
Gleisner said her friend was one of the six activists arrested.
“She was one of the mother’s chained to the entrance, yes,” said Gleisner.
“It’s a sad day when in a free country, we have no freedoms of our own bodies,” said mom Monica Martinez.
Martinez says she’s worried about her daughter Isabel who she says suffers from seizures after getting vaccinated with the MMR shot. She says she’s not going to comply with the new law.
“With this bill, she will not be exempt from more vaccines – which could compromise her health even more,” said Martinez.
Dr. Pan, a pediatrician, tells parents if you have an exemption now, it holds. If the child changes schools, the exemption could be subject for examination.
“We are not rejecting exemptions out of hand. This is about oversight,” Pan said. “So if you have a legit medical exemption you have nothing to worry about.”
Pan says the new rules come after rising medical exemption rates at more than 100 California schools – and the measles outbreak posed a real danger.
“The children who genuinely need a medical exemption can’t go to school if their school is not safe,” Pan said. “That means we need to make sure other kids who can get vaccinated are vaccinated.”
Dr. Pan also stresses that even if you have an exemption from a physician whose been flagged for issuing a lot of medical exemptions, that exemption will not be void unless that doctor has been sanctioned by the medical board.
“There are doctors who write a lot of exemptions, they may need to for kids with transplants or cancer. Those may be reviewed but if they’re legitimate, then there’s nothing to worry about,” said Pan.
Meanwhile, for some mothers, the fight is not over.
“We’re not going away were not done,” said Gleisner.