Soon the state of California will have a new law that will require almost every child to get vaccinated for being allowed to attend school. The bill has cleared nearly all major hurdles, which includes passing the state assembly and is now waiting for an approval from the governor. The public health officials, however, had to face strong opposition at every step of taking the mandatory vaccine bill forward.

The anti-vaccination movement actually has a really long history. Emory University’s Elena Conis, a professor of history, said that resistance against vaccination and vaccines began the moment the first ever vaccine (smallpox vaccine) was launched onto the market. Conis is also the author of “Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization”, a popular book on the history of vaccine in the United States.

According to Conis, the anti-vaccine movement of today has its roots in the social movements hitting the country during the 1960s and 70s, which includes environmentalism, consumer rights, and feminism. Those movements encouraged the common man to question the sources of power including doctors.


This was the time when advocates representing women started questioning medical advices on childbirth and reproductive health. Conis informed that suddenly women started using midwives and give births outside hospitals. Women also started rejecting professional advice of picking formula feedings over breastfeeding.

Another big change taking place at that time was introduction of package inserts that listed drug ingredients. This happened as more and more people in America started showing concerns about chemical exposures.

The anti-vaccination movement also began with concerns about the effects of vaccine on the child’s health. The authorities in California are trying to help people get rid of all misconceptions related to vaccines and vaccination.

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For instance, Dr Matt Willis, the public health officer of Marine County, CA has made a list that includes points that much be discussed about all existing vaccines. He speaks to parents and tells them that autism cannot be caused by measles vaccine. He also keeps on telling them to not delay vaccination.

People like Willis will get good support if Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signs the bill that stops parents from avoiding vaccination programs for personal or religious beliefs. The law, if passed, will be taking effect on January 1, 2016.