California Alert: Don’t Let Anti-Vax Bullies Win

Dear Friend of CFI in California,

Anti-Vaxxers have descended upon Sacramento, determined to stop a bill, SB-276, that protects public health by curtailing fraudulent medical exemptions from vaccine requirements. But what the anti-vaxxers lack in facts and evidence, they more than make up for with intimidation and fear tactics. Your voice is badly needed.

In 2015, California banned religious and “personal belief” exemptions. Afterward, medical exemptions in the state mysteriously tripled. In local social media circles, anti-vaxxers began circulating the names of doctors willing to bestow bogus exemptions. It’s the same dishonest behavior that our Communications Director Paul Fidalgo testified about in Maine.

SB-276 addresses this problem by requiring that all medical vaccine exemptions be approved by the state Department of Public Health and directing the Department to create a database of all exemptions to deter fraud and better track the possible source of outbreaks.

These anti-vaxxers fight dirty—as we’ve seen in other states, hundreds of anti-vaccine activists are engaging in targeted harassment of their opponents, and not just politicians either. They’ve also gone after doctors who refuse to give out bogus exemptions, and even the parents of children who perished from preventable diseases.

SB-276 received a favorable vote in the state Senate Health committee, but we don’t know how long lawmakers can hold out against such fanatical opposition from anti-vaxxers. SB-276 will receive a hearing in the Senate Appropriations committee this week. Given how fast it is moving through the legislative process, this bill may well receive a vote on the Senate floor very soon.

Don’t let the bullies and the fraudsters win. Please join the fight to stop the spread of preventable infectious diseases and bring sanity back to public health policy by urging your lawmakers to support this necessary legislation.

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