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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

Brown Signs Legislation Requiring Signatures To Opt Out of Vaccination

Gov. Jerry BrownOn Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation into law that requires parents who exclude their children from immunization requirements to submit a signed statement that they received information about risks and benefits of immunization.

Details of Law

AB 2109—proposed by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)—requires a signed statement by the parent and by a health care provider.

The law will take effect in January 2014.

Brown said that he will direct the Department of Health to provide an option to avoid having to obtain a health care provider’s signature for people choosing not to vaccinate their child because of religious beliefs.


Brown noted that AB 2109 does not eliminate parents' current right to exclude their children from vaccinations but attempts to ensure that they have important health information in making that choice.

“This bill is about explaining the value of vaccinations—both the benefits and risks—for an individual child and the community,” Brown wrote in a signing message for AB 2109. He added that the information “will be valuable even if a parent chooses not to vaccinate.”

Pan, a pediatrician, said, “AB 2109 utilizes the expertise of California’s 150,000 licensed health care practitioners to inform parents about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, answering specific questions they may have.”

Opponents say the law is a form of government coercion that requires parents to overcome bureaucratic hurdles before exercising their legal right to opt out of vaccinations. They also argue that parents could incur cost in obtaining a health care provider's signature.

Source: Sacramento Bee, September 30, 2012.

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