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California Passes One Of The Strictest Mandatory Vaccination Bills In The Nation

Getting vaccinated (Photo by Africa Studio via Shutterstock)
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California lawmakers, spurred on by this year's Disneyland measles outbreak, passed a strict bill requiring mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren.

California Assembly passed a measure that requires children entering school to be vaccinated against diseases like whooping cough and measles. Parents would no longer be able to use personal or religious beliefs as reasons to get out of those vaccinations, according to the L.A. Times. The only children who would be exempt are the ones who have serious medical problems like immune-system deficiencies, and their doctor would have to also confirm that to the school.

If any parents choose not to immunize their kids, they will have to home-school them, send them to a multifamily private home-school or go through a public independent study that's organized by local educational agencies, Sen. Ben Allen, former board president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, told KTLA.

The bill was already passed by the Senate earlier this year, but there were amendments that were made to the measure, and the Senate will now have to vote again on that. If they pass it—and they're expected to—then it will move on to Gov. Jerry Brown's office for his signature. It's not clear at this point if he will sign it.

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"The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit, and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered," Evan Westrup, the governor's spokesman, told the Times.

If Brown signs this bill into law, then California would be the third state in the nation to ban exclusions based on religious beliefs, joining Mississippi and West Virginia. California would join 32 other states in banning exemptions based on personal beliefs.

"Years of anti-science, anti-vaccine misinformation have taken its toll on immunization rates to the point that the public is now endanger [sic]," Pan said in a statement this month, according to KTLA. "Children, pregnant women, seniors and people with cancer, organ transplants and other conditions are counting on us to make sure science prevails."

Some—including Westsiders, we imagine—are planning to push back against the measure if it becomes a law. Christina Hildebrand, a spokesperson for the parent group, A Voice For Choice, told the Times: "We are pulling out all the stops. This bill is unconstitutional."