Amid intense debate this year about a proposal to require children to be fully vaccinated before attending public schools, an overwhelming majority of Californians appears to support such a measure.
Sixty-seven percent of California adults and 65 percent of public school parents say children should not be allowed to attend public schools unless they are vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps and rubella, according to a new poll.
The Public Policy Institute of California poll, released Wednesday, comes as the state Assembly considers Senate Bill 277, the subject of protests and fierce debate at the Capitol. If approved, California would become the third state in the nation to require vaccines without religious and personal belief exemptions.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, after an outbreak of measles beginning at Disneyland in December.
Fifty-seven percent of adults say vaccines given to children are very safe, and another 30 percent said they are somewhat safe, according to the poll. Ten percent of adults say they are not very safe or not safe at all.
Californians appear far more focused on other issues.
For the first time in a PPIC poll, a plurality of California adults – 39 percent – rank water and drought as the most important issue facing the state. Jobs and the economy comes next, at 20 percent.
Forty-six percent of adults say Gov. Jerry Brown’s order of a 25 percent reduction in urban water use does the right amount to respond to the drought. Thirty-six percent of adults say the restrictions don’t do enough, while 12 percent say they do too much.
Residents are more skeptical of their neighbors’ responses to the drought. Six in 10 California adults say people in their part of the state aren’t doing enough to respond to the drought, according to the poll.