The California State Senate approved Senator Tony Mendoza’s (D-Artesia) bill to require day care workers to be vaccinated with a vote of 34 to three, Mendoza’s office announced today. The State Assembly will next consider the bill.
The bill, SB 792, requires pre-school and daycare workers to be immunized against influenza, pertussis and the measles, among other diseases, a release issued Friday afternoon said.
“One child’s death is one too many, especially when it may be preventable,” said Senator Tony Mendoza in a statement. “With the recent deadly outbreaks of measles and influenza, we must do everything in our power to protect California’s children who spend time in day care.”
Mendoza called the bill “common sense” and praised its root in scientific logic.
At least one Long Beach resident contracted the measles last January after an outbreak of measles originating at Disneyland. The release said that as of February 20, 117 cases of measles had been confirmed. From 2013 to 2014, the release said, 404 people died of influenza (the flu) and at least three were under the age of five.
“The health officers want to thank Senator Mendoza for authoring this groundbreaking bill,” said Kat DeBurgh, MPH, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) in a statement. The HOAC co-sponsored the bill. “This bill will help protect our most vulnerable citizens – infants and small children – from life-threatening communicable diseases, some of whom are too young to be vaccinated.”
According to the release, children in day care settings and in kindergarten are in close contact with each other and staff, and are often too young to be fully immunized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates children’s vaccination schedule, which is determined by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The timeline schedules children’s immunizations for pertussis/whooping cough at two months old, the flu at six months old and measles at one year old. Infants who contract the flu often require hospitalization and risk death, while adults often experience comparatively mild consequences. Many vaccines, whooping cough in particular, require multiple doses to be considered fully effective.
“Children under the age of five are one of the most vulnerable age groups for contracting infection and developing complications from these very serious diseases, so it is critical that we use all available methods to protect them,” said Senator Mendoza in a statement.