VIENNA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) expressed disappointment that California Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial vaccine bill (AB2109) requiring parents to get the signature of a medical doctor or state designated health care worker to obtain a personal belief exemption to vaccination for their children attending daycare or school. NVIC opposed the bill but noted that Governor Brown listened to public concerns and sent a strongly worded letter to the Assembly reaffirming the right of parents to decline vaccinations for personal and religious beliefs.
“Governor Brown should have vetoed this unnecessary bill,” said NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher. ”He knew it was a bad bill and made it less oppressive by clearly reaffirming the fundamental right of parents to follow their conscience and religious beliefs when making vaccine decisions for their children.”
In a strongly worded letter to the Assembly, Governor Brown directed the Department of Public Health “to allow for a separate religious exemption on the form” that does not require a medical provider’s signature and make sure “parents are not overly burdened” by the law’s implementation.
NVIC Director of Advocacy Dawn Richardson said, “Americans stood up and made their voices heard in two states this year – Vermont and California – to protect personal and religious vaccine exemptions. That stand will be made in every state where drug company and medical trade lobbyists try to strip away parental, informed consent and First Amendment rights.”
In both California and Vermont, there were bi-partisan, diverse groups of parents, health care professionals, legislators and religious freedom advocates testifying in legislative hearings and holding public demonstrations protesting the erosion of parental informed consent rights. Lobbyists for public health officials, American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child by Two, California Immunization Coalition and other medical trade groups testified in support of eliminating or narrowly restricting vaccine exemptions.
In California, Dawn Winkler, Michele Gutierrez, and Rob Schneider were among the parents testifying that AB2109 was not about education but about forcing parents to pay for a doctor office visit to beg hostile pediatricians, who are throwing parents out of their offices if they do not follow recommended vaccination schedules, to sign a personal belief exemption. Poor parents, they said, would be disproportionately affected.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), founded in 1982, is the oldest and largest consumer led non-profit organization dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the informed consent ethic.