January 08, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy
A campaign to recall California Senator Richard Pan, M.D., the pediatrician who carried Senate Bill 277 in the California state legislature, has failed to gain any support. Proponents of the recall had until December 31, 2015, to collect 35,926 verified signatures from the 436,318 registered voters in his district. According to the Yolo County Clerk Recorder, opponents of the effort did not even file one signature.
SB 277, co-sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA), removed the personal belief exemption from vaccination requirements—allowing only for medical exemptions. The effort drew the ire of opponents to vaccination and this is where the effort to recall Dr. Pan began.
Under the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in late June, immunizations would be required of children when first entering a new school system, with checks at kindergarten and seventh grade.
The bill received widespread support from health and education organizations across the state, including CMA; the American Academy of Pediatrics, California; California State PTA; California Immunization Coalition; and the California Children’s Hospital Association. Additionally, several other community groups, local governments and newspapers also endorsed the bill.
In late July, Dr. Pan was named a “Hero of Vaccine History” by Time magazine.