Press Release – Public Health Wins Over Fear-Mongering in California: CFI Welcomes Adoption of SB 277

The Center for Inquiry welcomes California’s adoption of SB 277, which invalidates most belief-based exemptions from children’s vaccination requirements — favoring the health of California’s children over the misinformed views of vaccine opponents. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a national organization that advocates for public policy based on science, evidence, and secular humanist principles.

“This is a great victory for public health and the integrity of science in medicine. Gov. Brown and the majority of California’s legislators wisely resisted the enormous pressure exerted by opponents of vaccinations — an opposition founded on fear-mongering and misrepresentation of the facts,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s Public Policy Director. “By embracing the scientific method and empirical evidence over pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, the children of California will be better protected from preventable infectious diseases, which in turn protects all of us.”

Senate Bill 277 ends “personal belief” exemptions—be they philosophical or religious—for children attending public or private schools in California, for the 10 vaccines currently required by the state, including MMR. (An amendment was added that would allow a personal belief exemption from any new vaccines that may be required in the future, an amendment that CFI opposes.) Children will be required to be vaccinated upon enrollment in kindergarten, or, if they are already in the school system, by the time they reach 8th grade.

“Inoculating against these awful but preventable diseases is a victory for science, medicine, and common sense,” said Jim Underdown, executive director of CFI’s Los Angeles branch. “The people of California will be healthier with this law.”

De Dora added that now other states must look to follow California’s lead in mandatory vaccinations. “Infectious diseases are not cured by religious faith or pseudoscientific celebrity health fads,” he said. “To truly defend against outbreaks of preventable diseases, this new California law needs to be the rule, rather than the exception, across the country. We look forward to partnering with states to help make this happen.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is

For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785