Last night, March 25, 2019, California Senator Richard Pan’s office dropped his new bill, SB 276 correcting what he has described as the rampant unjustified/fraudulent medical vaccine exemptions being written by some physicians.
His solution is to have public health officers approve or reject medical exemption “requests” submitted by physicians. The bill also establishes the criteria for medical exemptions, and there’s no surprise here: CDC contraindications, roughly, the package insert contraindications for each vaccine.
I think that would make California the toughest state in the country to obtain medical exemptions, and perhaps the only state where exemptions are actually granted or denied by state officials (but more about that later).
Here is how the legislation is explained in the bill:
“This bill would . . .require the State Department of Public Health to develop and make available for use by licensed physicians and surgeons a statewide standardized medical exemption request form, which would be the only medical exemption documentation that a governing authority may accept.
The bill would require the State Public Health Officer or the public health officer’s designee to approve or deny a medical exemption request, upon determining that the request provides sufficient medical evidence that the immunization is contraindicated by guidelines of the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
The bottom line is that under the bill, physicians no longer write medical exemptions; they fill out form applications/requests for a medical exemption which are decided by officials of the Department of Health, and only CDC contraindications will be accepted as a basis for a medical exemption.
Here is the bill:
But it gets better!
If you already have an exemption for your child, you need to submit a copy of it to state officials who will review the previously obtained exemption under the same CDC criteria, and they will revoke it unless it is consistent with CDC contraindications.
It is interesting to note that the contraindications standard for exemption writing was in the original SB 277, but it was eventually replaced with a more general standard including consideration of family history, probably due to public uproar and/or as a way to placate anyone with any concerns about vaccines.
Given all the recorded legislative history surrounding the passage of SB 277, it’s going to be interesting to see how Senator Pan and others explain away some of their past statements regarding the importance of family history in a vaccine exemption analysis, since it’s not really a big part of the CDC contraindications (and that’s an understatement).
My view is that practically speaking, if this becomes law, unless a child has had a documented prior serious adverse event (SAE) associated with a vaccine, there won’t be any type of medical exemption in that child’s future.
Furthermore, even for those with a prior documented SAE, the exemption will based on each vaccine’s contraindication, and the exemption will only cover the specific vaccine or vaccine group which was associated with the SAE. I don’t see how a healthy child would qualify for an exemption from all childhood vaccines throughout childhood, at least under the CDC contraindications.
BUT DON’T CALL YOUR MOVING COMPANY JUST YET
There’s a problem which I’ll explain via a few riddles.
1. What do you call a state official who rejects a physician’s request for a medical exemption?
A future felon (or misdemeanant), unless he/she has a California medical license, because the decision to grant or deny a vaccine exemption is a
medical decision and medical decisions can only be made by physicians (or some other licensed health care practitioner operating within the scope
of practice of that license). Otherwise it’s the unauthorized practice of medicine which can either be a felony or a misdameanor. I know about this
becasue I’ve handled many of these cases, mostly in California. See Chapter 7 of Galileo’s Lawyer for one of them).
2. What do you call a state public health official with a California medical license who has denied 5,000 exemptions?
A defendant in 5,000 medical malpractice lawsuits.
The subject of 5,000 medical board complaints for making a medical determination without a valid doctor/patient relationship which almost always
requires a face-
to-face patient encounter.
3. What do you call the many Deputy Attorney Generals representing these public health officials?
4. What’s a good descriptive name for SB 276?
The California Lawyers’ Full Employment Act of 2019.
(And that’s coming from a guy who mostly doesn’t believe in filing vaccine lawsuits. See http://rickjaffeesq.com/2019/03/21/the-smartest-thing-the-vaccine-
concerned-have- done-recently-or-maybe-ever/ )
Hey numb nuts, there’s a reason they’re called “medical exemptions.”
Rick Jaffe, Esq.