That's it. That's all. AB 2109 doesn't take away "parent choice" or "attack legal vaccine exemptions" or "force parents into a relationship" or any of the other specious objections the anti-vaccine forces, lead by the National Vaccine (mis)Information Center (NVIC) VIC and the Canary Party, have ginned up.
The action you need to take is to fax and email the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, tell them why you support AB 2109, and ask them to join you. A draft letter is at the bottom of this post. It is also available as a Word document on the Facebook page,
Members (links lead to web page with contact form; email addresses where available. Fax numbers below.)
- Senator Christine Kehoe (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Mimi Walters (Vice Chair)
- Senator Elaine Alquist
- Senator Bob Dutton
- Senator Ted W. Lieu
- Senator Curren Price email@example.com
- Senator Darrell Steinberg
- Staff Director: Bob Franzoia
- Consultants: Marie Liu, Brendan McCarthy, Mark McKenzie, Jolie Onodera, Maureen Ortiz and Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez
- Assistants: Jennifer Douglas and Lydia McKim
- Phone: (916) 651-4101
- Room: 2206
Silent or not stating position:
Senator Christine Kehoe (Dem) (Chair) Fax: 916-327-2188
Senator Elaine Alquist (Dem) Fax: 916-324-0283
Senator Ted W. Lieu (Dem) Fax: 916-323-6056
Senator Curren Price (Dem) Fax: (916) 445-8899
Senator Darrell Steinberg (Dem) Fax: 916-323-2263
Leaning toward opposition
Senator Bob Dutton (Rep) Fax: 916-327-2272
Senator Mimi Walters (Rep) (Vice Chair) Fax: 916-445-9754
If any of these senators represent you, you may also wish to contact the Senator via phone, to express why you support AB 2109.
Draft letter for your use. Feel free to copy and paste, or you can download a Word doc version from the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/groups/385230668174221/450955078268446/
July 30, 2012
Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair Fax: 916-327-2188
Senator Mimi Walters, Vice Chair Fax: 916-445-9754
Senator Elaine Alquist Fax: 916-324-0283
Senator Bob Dutton Fax: 916-327-2272
Senator Ted W. Lieu Fax: 916-323-6056
Senator Curren Price Fax: (916) 445-8899
Senator Darrell Steinberg, Senate President pro tem Fax: 916-323-2263
re: Support for AB 2109
Dear Senator [name]
I am writing to ask you to vote in favor of AB 2109 when it comes before the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 5, 2012.
The current law is extremely lax. It merely requires that the parent sign the statement below:
AB 2109 is very simple. It merely requires that if a parent wishes to send her child to school without the required vaccines the parent must document having had a face-to-face conversation about vaccine risks and benefits with a licensed health care provider.
I support this bill for several reasons. There are wide variations in rates of Personal Belief Exemptions (PBE). Some public schools have rates as high as 81%. Children who are unvaccinated against measles are 22 to 224 times more likely to contract disease. This represents a cost to government and to individuals: the 2008 San Diego measles outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child with a PBE; eight of the nine measles-infected children old enough to be vaccinated had PBEs. It cost about $177,000 to contain; the figure does not include the hospitalization costs for several of the children or parents’ lost wages.
According to figures published by the California Department of Education, there were 12,256 incoming kindergarteners with PBEs in the 2011-2012 school year. (see http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/immunize/Pages/ImmunizationLevels.aspx)
I was on a conference call with Dr. Pan on Tuesday, July 24, 2012. In that call, Dr. Pan explained that his sense is that many parents choose the PBE option out of convenience or fear, rather than conviction. The student may have fallen behind in one or more of the required vaccines due to lack of time, access to medical care, or financial issues. The parent then takes the option of signing the PBE at the time of school entry out of convenience. In other cases, parents may be unsure of the value of one or more vaccines, and rather than discuss these concerns with a trained health care provider, will sign the PBE. AB 2109 will address both these issues.
The question for your committee is, what will it cost the state if AB 2109 becomes law? An AB 2109 opponent claimed that it would cost “millions”. If “millions” means $2 million, that means that each PBE at 2011-2012 rates would cost the state around $163.00, which is a ridiculously high figure.
It is my sense that the cost to California will be modest, and would be somewhat offset by savings in public health expenditures. Without examining each of the 7,327 schools in the data table cited above, schools with a high percentage of low-SES students tend to have a higher rate of fully-vaccinated students, compared to schools in high-SES areas. The data on private schools are equivocal; those influenced by anthroposophical notions or Waldorf philosophy tend to have high PBE rates while more main-stream private schools tend to have high rates of fully-vaccinated students.
I hope you will agree with me that this bill is a benefit to California’s health.