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Legislature in California passes strict school vaccine bill

Staff writer ▼ | July 1, 2015
California State Senate reaffirmed a bill calling for mandatory vaccination for students at public schools.
California vaccination
Vaccine proposed law   Similar efforts in Oregon and Washington failed in March
Lawmakers of the State Senate voted 24 to 14 to adopt the bill previously passed at another session of the upper house held in May and by the State Assembly Friday, effectively sending it to Governor Jerry Brown for signing into law.

Once signed by the governor into law, the bill will no longer allow parents to ask for exempting their kids from immunization against diseases like measles, mumps and rubella on religious or personal reasons.

Still, parents can opt out on medical grounds, citing personal or family history.

A spokesman for Brown was quoted as saying by reports from Sacramento, the state capital, that the governor "believes that vaccinations are profoundly important" and promises that the proposed law will be "closely considered."

A measles outbreak starting at Disneyland in Orange County, California, in December last year prompted lawmakers in the Golden State to push the bill through the state legislature in the hope that mandatory vaccination would protect public health by achieving "herd immunity" against the spread of disease.

Measles once was eradicated in the United States.

However, the statistics of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 173 people in 21 states and the District of Columbia developed measles this year and 117 of the cases were linked to Disneyland.

California state Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician who co- authored the bill, said in an earlier statement that "years of anti-science, anti-vaccine misinformation have taken its toll on immunization rates to the point that the public is now in danger," including "children, pregnant women, seniors and people with cancer, organ transplants, and other conditions."

While California is likely to join Mississippi and West Virginia to be the only states with such strict vaccine requirements, similar efforts by state legislatures in Oregon and Washington failed in March.