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Lawmakers Form Vaccine Working Group, Legislation Expected

Last week, lawmakers announced the formation of a Vaccine Work Group. According to the press release, the group seeks to develop evidence-based policies to strengthen the state’s ability to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, while battling misinformation. Further, the group will examine data, hear from experts, and engage stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines.

Specifically, the group includes Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician and Chair of the Senate Health Committee, as well as Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Assemblymembers Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), and Evan Low (D-Campbell).

“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” said Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”

The first proposal introduced by a member of the work group was SB 866 by Senator Wiener. Deemed the Teens Choose Vaccines Act, the bill would allow children 12 and older to receive vaccinations without their parents’ consent. SB 866 applies to all vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that meet the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Then, on January 24th, Senator Pan introduced the Keep Schools Open and Safe Act, to eliminate the personal belief exemption for school-based COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

Additional legislation is expected from other members of the work group. Stay tuned…

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