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California’s Vaccination Law Results In Ups And Downs

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Sonora, CA — A study released this week has found that a law aimed at boosting vaccination rates across California had the greatest impact in high-risk areas where the vaccination rates had been the lowest.

The peer-reviewed study published in the journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) Medicine this week shows that the 2016 legislation appears to be working. It contributed to a 3.3% increase statewide for measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and a 2.4% decrease in the number of requests for non-medical or personal belief exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements.

Following an outbreak of more than 100 measles cases connected to individuals visiting Disneyland in December 2014, California adopted the strictest childhood vaccination laws in the nation. The law requires children to be vaccinated to attend public or private schools. Medical exemptions are only allowed if there is a clear medical reason that children should not be vaccinated.

The study shows the largest increase in vaccinations happened in counties with lower rates before the law went into effect.

Dr. Nathan Lo, a public health scientist at UCSF Medical Center who co-authored the study shares, “There are a few counties in California that had particularly low vaccine coverage and in those high-risk counties those low vaccine coverage counties that’s where it increased dramatically by 10-plus percent.”

The study also found that the policy change spurred a 0.4 percent increase in medical exemptions statewide and a 2.4 percent increase for counties. A trend that initiated lawmakers to pass a controversial bill in September to crack down on doctors that write bogus medical exemptions to decline vaccinations.

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