New California Law Limits Student Vaccination Exemptions

Starting next year, parents will only be able to send unvaccinated children to school if they have a note from a doctor.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the nation on Tuesday. The legislation requires school children to be vaccinated except when a child’s physician concludes there are “circumstances, including but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization…”

The new law, called SB 277, no longer allows families to have their children be exempt from vaccinations based on their personal or religious beliefs. Most children who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to attend school.

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown said in a letter to the California State Senate. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”

SB 277 was introduced in response to a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland last year. In total, 147 people in the United States and Mexico were sickened.

Health officials say communities with low vaccination rates contributed to the spread of the disease, reports CBS News.

The law, which goes into effect next year, applies to public and private schools, as well as daycare facilities. Similar laws are already in effect in Mississippi and West Virginia.

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