My start in science & public policy: California’s vaccination bill – SB 277

For many, the term “science policy” sounds almost like an oxymoron — an unnatural pairing of two different disciplines. Others may be aware of the marriage between ‘science’ and ‘policy,’ but don’t necessarily understand how that relationship functions. Throughout graduate school, I knew I had an interest in science policy but didn’t know exactly what that meant or what role I could play in the field. The turning point for me came after my postdoctoral work, when I took part in a science and technology policy fellowship through the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), a fellowship that gives scientists the opportunity to work as legislative aides and consultants in the California State legislature. Of all the bills that were drafted and analyzed during my fellowship year, one bill stands out to me as the most fitting example of science policy. It’s a high-profile bill that would go on to have an important impact on population health in California: Bill SB 277. SB 277 removed the personal belief exemption from vaccination requirements for enrolling children in private or public school. (Medical exemptions, however, are still allowed.) This exemption had previously allowed parents who did not want to vaccinate their […]

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