Measles Update: New Law Prohibits Personal Belief Exemption

15837608614_b104e2b8fe_oLast February, we wrote about daycare and preschool measles vaccination rates in California. Despite the dangers of non-vaccinated children in a preschool environment – too many can reduce the protection offered by herd immunity – previously preschools could not refuse admission to non-vaccinated children when parents stated a philosophical or religious exemption. However, this will change beginning on July 1, 2016, as California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Tuesday, June 30 that will eliminate the possibility of parents refusing child vaccination on the grounds of personal belief, including religious reasons. According to this EdSource article, any child with a personal belief exemption before January 1, 2016 will be allowed to continue their schooling until the next vaccination checkpoint (either kindergarten or 7th grade), at which they will have a couple options: get vaccinated, refuse to be vaccinated and seek education alternatives such as homeschooling or independent study, or obtain a medical exemption. This law, introduced after the recent measles outbreak in Disneyland last December, was hotly debated in the California State Congress. Now that it has been passed, preschools will be able to better maintain a healthy and safe environment for all (mostly vaccinated) children.

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