Capitol Alert

California vaccine rates increase after Legislature toughens rules for children

Anti-vaccine protest at Capitol: “Parents call the shots”

Hundreds of parents and their children protested against a mandatory vaccine bill at the Capitol on May 15, 2015.
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Hundreds of parents and their children protested against a mandatory vaccine bill at the Capitol on May 15, 2015.

School vaccination rates are the highest in California in more than 15 years after the Legislature toughened requirements.

A new report by the California Department of Public Health found that 95.6 percent of kindergartners in the current school year completed vaccination requirements.

“I am pleased that this first year of the implementation of SB 277 has resulted in the significant rise of the vaccination rate of this year’s kindergarten class,” said Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who authored the bill. “This success is a first step toward reducing the number of unimmunized people putting our families at risk for preventable diseases, thereby restoring community immunity throughout our state in the coming years.”

Senate Bill 277, signed in 2015, required children without medical exemptions to receive all their shots before enrolling in school and eliminated a provision that allowed parents to seek personal and religious belief exemptions.

The bill sparked outrage among opponents of vaccines, who said it unfairly restricted parents’ ability to make decisions for their children. Adversaries attempted to repeal the controversial law but fell short of the necessary votes to halt the measure from taking effect and to trigger a statewide vote.

The Democratic state senator from Sacramento on June 26, 2015 recounted why he introduced Senate Bill 277, a hugely controversial bill requiring vaccinations for California school children.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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