California joined Mississippi and West Virginia with the passing of Senate Bill 277 last July (2016). This bill did away with religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions, allowing only medical exemptions accepted in the school system. The bill was sparked by the 2014, measles outbreak in Disneyland that affected 159 people in the US and dozens in Mexico and Canada.
Up until last July vaccine exemption numbers had been climbing in California marked by a rise in personal belief exemptions filed by California parents. Every year there had been a slightly larger number of children entering the school system without having gotten their vaccines.
Also included in the bill is the mandatory vaccination of all children entering school. The new legislation applies only to children entering a few checkpoints in any upcoming school year: day care, kindergarten, and seventh grade. That means that an unvaccinated child who entered kindergarten in the fall of 2015 will continue to go without vaccination until the next check point–seventh grade. That’s a long time left unprotected.
The passing of Senate Bill 277 is being hailed by it’s supporters as a victory for public health, however parents of the unvaccinated are claiming this is a violation of their parental rights. Many have chosen to move out of the stater or have removed their children from the school system. Therefore, California is still seeing high numbers of unvaccinated pockets of people and thus, unprotected communities. When these unprotected communities see disease it quickly spreads because there are not enough vaccinated people to keep it contained.
So Measles is back. And this time it’s in Los Angeles.