aniela Chavarriaga holds her daughter, Emma Chavarriaga, as pediatrician Jose Rosa-Olivares, M.D. administers a measles vaccination during a visit to the Miami Children's Hospital on June 02, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Parents Weep During Hearing On California Vaccine Proposal

Holly Quan
June 21, 2019 - 11:36 am

SACRAMENTO — Hundreds of people, including sobbing parents, jammed a Sacramento hearing room as a controversial bill to revise the state's rules for vaccinating children cleared a key legislative hurdle on Thursday. 

Opponents of the proposed legislation, which would make it harder for parents to exempt children from immunizations, headed to the hallway outside of Gov. Gavin Newsom's in the state capitol after the Assembly hearing. 

Several mothers gave emotional testimony. One said that one of her children was "injured" by a vaccine and that none of her three children "would be able to go to school if this passes while another said the bill would harm her "medically fragile" children. 

California already has some of the strictest vaccination laws. Kids have to be immunized to go to school or day care, but in the last year some lawmakers worried about doctors being too lenient in writing  exemptions.

Related: Where Bay Area Kids Are Unvaccinated

That's why state Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento is pushing the bill to create new guideline for what medical conditions would qualify for a waiver. Appearing before the Assembly Health Committee he pointed to the over 1,000 cases of measles now reported in the U.S. this year. 

"This is the most number since 1992 and certainly since measles were declared eliminated in the year 2000," he said. California has had 52 measles cases, he said. 

This week, Pan adjusted his proposal to win support from Newsom, who's indicated he will sign the bill.