California passes bill to end vaccination exemptions

A bottle containing a measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children's Hospital on Jan. 28, 2015, in Miami.
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A bottle containing a measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children's Hospital on Jan. 28, 2015, in Miami.

California lawmakers voted to end state immunization exemptions based on religious or personal beliefs, which if it becomes law would be one of the strictest vaccination requirements in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported.

The measure was approved by a 46-to-36 vote by the state Assembly after growing concern following a measles outbreak at Disneyland that led to more than 150 people being infected.

The bill will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown's office and, if he signs the measure, would require that more children within the state who go into day care and school be vaccinated against diseases such as measles, the Thursday report said.

"The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit, and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered," said Evan Westrup, Brown's spokesman.

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Many, including Dr. Luther Cobb, president of the California Medical Association, hailed the vote. "We've seen with this recent epidemic that rates of immunization are low enough that epidemics can be spread now," he told the newspaper. "The reasons for failing to immunize people … are based on unscientific and untrue objections, and it's just a good public health measure."

Nevertheless, some said the bill violates parental rights and should not be made into law. "The broadness of this bill likely dooms it from a constitutional standpoint," Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who voted against the measure, said.

Click here to read the full report.