A rise in measles cases has California lawmakers considering a bill that would constrain doctors from granting medical exemptions for vaccines to children without approval from a state department.
The bill’s supporters want to limit pockets around California where vaccination rates in schools have dropped below 95 percent, a threshold that can compromise so-called “herd immunity.”
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, contends that “unscrupulous” physicians have granted those exemptions for dubious reasons, raising public health risks for people who cannot receive vaccinations.
Around California, 95.1 percent of kindergarteners have received all required vaccines, according to the Department of Public Health.
The picture is different in some schools, where vaccination rates remain below 80 percent despite a law Pan wrote in 2015 that limited vaccine exemptions for personal beliefs.
As of April 25, 29 California adults have been diagnosed with measles and 10 children have contracted the virus this year. Three of the people infected are in Sacramento County.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 695 Americans have been diagnosed with measles this year, the highest number since the disease was declared “eliminated” in 2000.
Less than 7 percent of the kindergarten classes at public and private schools in the Sacramento region reported less than a 90 percent vaccination rate for the measles last school year, the most recent state data shows.
See how well your local school performed.