California · COVID-19

Tulare Co. Supes target student vaccine bills

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors is set to speak out against a pair bills circulating the California State Legislature that would remove some parental rights in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Tuesday, the board will look to approve two letters in opposition to Senate Bill 866 and Senate Bill 871. 

Senate Bill 866, authored by Sens. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco) and Richard Pan (D–Sacramento) would allow children aged 12 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without consent from their parents. 

“SB 866 denies the ability of a parent or guardian to act in the best interests of their child,” the letter reads. “It also lays the burden of decision-making about vaccines into the hands of vaccine providers and children not deemed suited to other adult decision-making activities.” 

The letter argues for the rights of parents and guardians to matter to the state and be respected. 

“Please stop this effort to put burdensome adult medical decisions into the hands of children,” the letter reads.” 

Pan also penned Senate Bill 871, which would require students in all schools to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as well as removing the existing personal belief exemption that would allow students to attend school without being vaccinated. 

“SB 871 removes the personal belief exemption and therefore denies the rights of parents to make COVID-19 vaccination decisions for their children,” the letter reads. “Long-term safety data on COVID-19 vaccines in children is absent, as is safety monitoring that will fully portray the risks.” 

The letter also notes that in 2013 the Association of Immunization Managers advised that school and child care immunization requirements be used sparingly, approached cautiously and considered only after an appropriate vaccine implementation period. 

With Senate Bill 277 in place – another law authored by Pan – which requires children to be immunized against 10 serious communicable diseases to be able to attend schools or child care centers, the letter notes that Tulare County has 98.1 percent of all kindergarten students who have received the required immunizations. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.