Dear Senator Pan,
On behalf of the County of Tulare Board of Supervisors, this letter is intended to document our unequivocal opposition to Senate Bill 871 (Pan). SB 871 removes the personal belief exemption and therefore denies the rights of parents to make COVID-19 vaccination decisions for their children. Long-term safety data on COVID-19 vaccines in children is absent, as is safety monitoring that will fully portray the risks.
Moreover, in 2013, the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) advised, "School and childcare immunization requirements must be used sparingly, approached cautiously, and considered only after an appropriate vaccine implementation period." SB 277 has already been put in place and children must be immunized against 10 serious communicable diseases to be able to attend public or private schools and childcare centers. Tulare County typically leads the state in kindergarten vaccines, with 98.1 % of all kindergartners having their required vaccinations. In 2019, only 0.2% had a permanent medical exemption and other exemptions were only 0.4%.
School districts already have a heavy burden associated with changes and a loss of staff due to the pandemic. To place another state-mandated local program onto districts would be devastating. For these reasons, among others, we strongly oppose SB 871.
Larry Micari, District One Supervisor
Pete Vander Poel, District Two Supervisor
Amy Shuklian, District Three Supervisor
Eddie Valero, Chair
Dennis Townsend, Vice-Chair