In a last ditch effort to sway the governor, concerned parents rallied at the Capitol Friday urging him to veto a bill requiring parents to get a medical professional's signature on a form in order to opt out of getting their children vaccinated. Mothers told stories of how their kids suffered major health problems after getting vaccinated. "This bill takes away our right to choose what we deem is best for our children. I didn't know then what had been to my child," said concerned mother Michelle Gutierrez.
The group enlisted the help of actor/comedian Rob Schneider, a Democrat who joins Republican lawmakers in opposing the bill. "The state has no authority to restrict or eliminate a parent's right to exempt their child from one or more vaccines or from any medical procedure. This bill oversteps the authority of the state," he told the crowd.
Dr. Dean Blumberg, one of the country's leading experts in pediatric infections, says it's tough to compete with a celebrity with a message, but the reality is that vaccines are effective and too many children are not getting them because it's too easy for parents in California to fill out the Personal Belief Exemption forms. "We're immunizing and now we can prevent those deaths. So I think there's a lot of misinformation out there," he said.
Blumberg also points out that people can still opt out of getting their kids vaccinated. The proposal only requires parents to be counseled on the benefits of shots. "Right now, the parents sign a form on their own and what this bill aims to do, is the parents sign the form and their healthcare provider signs the form also," he explained.
Gov. Brown has until midnight Sunday night to act on the vaccines bill.