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California Assembly approves tough mandatory vaccination bill

Californians would not be able to skip vaccinations over religious or other personal beliefs if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill.

By
Stephen Feller
If signed by the governor, a new bill in California will eliminate vaccine expemptions for personal and religious reasons. Photo: gorillaimages/Shutterstock
If signed by the governor, a new bill in California will eliminate vaccine expemptions for personal and religious reasons. Photo: gorillaimages/Shutterstock

SACRAMENTO, June 26 (UPI) -- The state Assembly in California on Thursday passed a bill that eliminates religious and personal exemptions that allow children in the state to be enrolled in school without the full range of recommended vaccinations.

Senate Bill 277 must go back to the Senate, where it passed easily the first time, for a vote on amendments made in the Assembly before it can be sent to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not publicly stated whether or not he would sign the bill.

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The bill was inspired by the 2014 measles outbreak at Disneyland, as well as the resurgence of other eradicable diseases over the last few years as some parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

If Brown signs the bill, only physician-confirmed exemptions for allergies and immune system deficiencies would excuse children in public schools from being vaccinated, according to the L.A. Times.

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The bill has been controversial because some parents see it as interfering in their right to make health choices for their children, drawing large protest crowds at the state capitol. Despite many parents claiming their children had been injured by vaccines and forcing vaccinations on them was wrong, members of the Assembly said the requirements are about protecting the most people from diseases.

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"I understand that the decisions we make about our children's health care are deeply personal," Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who voted for the bill, told the Sacramento Bee. "While I respect the fundamental right to make that decision as a family, we must balance that with the fact that none of us have the right to endanger others."

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