REDWOOD CITY — California may have closed a chapter in its bitter fight over mandatory vaccines for children, but a new billboard campaign by opponents of the state’s pro-vaccination law shows the controversy is far from over.
Billboards questioning the safety of vaccines have popped up over the past couple of months from Berkeley and San Francisco to North Fair Oaks, a largely Latino community in southern San Mateo County. More went up in January in the San Jose area to coincide with Super Bowl 50, which has drawn tens of thousands of visitors to the South Bay.
The billboards, paid for by a nonprofit called the Council for Vaccine Safety, proclaim that vaccines pose serious health risks, a stance almost unanimously rejected by doctors and scientists. One South Bay sign declares, “There’s no such thing as a safe vaccine.” Another reads, “You may be just one shot away from chronic illness.”
One billboard was strategically placed across the street from Hoover Elementary School in North Fair Oaks, drawing the ire of Leah Russin, founder of Vaccinate California. Her parents group advocated heavily for last year’s Senate Bill 277, which eliminated personal belief or religious exemptions to mandatory vaccines for school-age children.