Lawsuit Filed Over New California Vaccine Law

On July 1, 2016, a new law went into effect in California that will no longer allow parents to withhold vaccinating their school-aged children because of religious or personal beliefs. SB 277 only allows for exceptions for children with documented medical issues.

A group of parents filed suit on the same day the law took effect, according to the Associated Press.

They have asked the judge to suspend the law while the issue moves through the court. The law also applies to private schools and child care facilities. The exemption is claimed for 80,000 students in California, the Los Angeles Times reported as the bill moved through the legislature in 2015.

The push to do away with the personal belief exemption came after a measles outbreak affecting 100 people was traced to Disneyland in December 2014.

According to a CSG analysis of 2013-2014 school year data on state MMR vaccination rates, 26 states’ rates are below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended rate of 95 percent. The 95 percent vaccination rate is the level that public health professionals believe provides the necessary “herd immunity” to protect an entire population, even if up to 5 percent are not vaccinated.