Solana Beach school district may back dropping personal-belief exemption for vaccines

( / U-T San Diego file photo)

In response to a measles outbreak that started in Southern California, the Solana Beach School District is considering supporting legislation that would require children to be fully vaccinated before going to school.

“With this measles outbreak, there’s a huge issue with vaccinations,” board member Richard Leib said at the Feb. 11 meeting. “Personally, I find it very important that we support legislation to repeal the personal exemption.”

California is one of 19 states that allows parents to opt their children out of vaccines because of personal beliefs. The recent measles outbreak, however, has prompted state lawmakers to propose eliminating the personal belief exemption in California.

Since the outbreak began in December in at Disneyland, 113 people have reportedly been infected with the disease.

Having been around since the 1960s, the exemption isn’t new, but the number of parents taking the exemption has increased in recent years.

At the same time, the state has aimed to reduce the number of exemptions. A new California law, which took effect last year, requires all parents seeking the exemption to first talk with a medical professional.

Leib said he plans to introduce a resolution supporting the legislation at the board’s next meeting on March 12.

“I feel really, really strongly about the immunization issue, so we should have a nice conversation when we bring that forward,” said board vice president Debra Schade, who holds a doctorate in public health education and promotion.

“I think people now don’t realize the devastation that happened, why we’re immunizing children and why it’s an important public health issue.”