Starting January 1, 2016, California students can only attend public schools if they are up-to-date on their vaccination shots, due to California’s new vaccination law, eliminating “personal belief” exemptions from vaccinating children.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill in June this year. A large measles outbreak earlier this year brought attention to this issue.
“I don’t think it will have a big impact on us,” said CVHS nurse Sandee Velasquez. “Overall as a district we are at a 97 percent immunization rate.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, 90.7 percent of students attending public schools had met all immunization requirements.
While there is a backlash against the law being passed, some students at CVHS agree with it, believing that it will help to maintain a safer environment at school.
“I think it will protect students from various preventable diseases, which might hinder their abilities to get an education,” said junior Emujin Unenbat.
Some students believe the new law can set some ease at school, with less worry to a possibility of getting a harmful disease from the school environment.
“It’s a matter of health,” said junior Lindsey Guan. “Students shouldn’t be in danger of getting a disease just by going to school.”
Despite the argument that some religious or personal beliefs should allow students to decline the vaccinations, some believe that the safety of the majority is at hand.
“The problem here is the conflict between individual need and community need,” said junior Nicholas Tran. “The needs of the community outweighs the needs of the individual.”
California will soon join Missouri and Vermont to be the third state in the U.S. to require vaccinations for public schools without personal belief or religious exemptions.
During the California Disneyland measles outbreak, 110 measles victims were reported in California, 49 were unvaccinated and 47 had unknown or undocumented vaccination status.
With the new law in hand, it will become less likely to catch harmful diseases that students are immunized against.
“The nurse in me thinks it’s a great idea, I believe that vaccinations work,” said Velasquez. “But because you’re choosing not to vaccinate your kids and therefore your denied the public education, I struggle with that.”