Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti declined Tuesday to take sides on mandatory vaccinations, saying his own daughter has been vaccinated but he also has friends who refuse vaccinations for their children.

“I think everybody knows somebody who has different opinions,” Garcetti told City News Service in a City Hall interview.

Two state senators said last week they plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit parents from using “personal belief” to opt out of vaccinations for their children.

Garcetti earlier told CNS he “absolutely” believes people should be vaccinated against measles. Asked today if he believes vaccinations should be mandatory, the mayor said only, “My daughter is vaccinated, and that reflects my opinion.”

He said he respects the idea that some people have personal beliefs against vaccinations.

As of Monday, there have been 107 confirmed cases of measles in California, according to the state Department of Public Health. Thirty-nine of those patients visited Disneyland between Dec. 17-20, when they are believed to have been exposed. Twenty-five others either live with or have had close contact with someone confirmed to have the disease, five were exposed in a community setting such an emergency room, and the source of exposure is unknown for 38 others.

The two senators who said they’re planning to introduce legislation in Sacramento to prohibit personal-belief exemptions are Sen. Ben Allen, D-Redondo Beach, and Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento.

“I’ve personally witnessed the suffering caused by these preventable diseases and I am very grateful to the many parents that are now speaking up and letting us know that our current laws don’t protect their kids,” Pan, who is a pediatrician, said.

Pan authored a law in 2012 requiring parents to speak to a health care practitioner before obtaining a vaccination exemption. According to Pan, the number of parents seeking exemptions dropped by 20 percent when the law took effect.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he would be open to the idea of eliminating personal exemptions.

Both of California’s U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent a letter last week to California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley asking that the state reconsider allowing exemptions.

“While a small number of children cannot be vaccinated due to an underlying medical condition, we believe there should be no such thing as a philosophical or personal belief exemption, since everyone uses public spaces,” the Democrats wrote. “As we have learned in the past month, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children not only put their own family at risk, but they also endanger other families who choose to vaccinate.”

City News Service

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