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Two years ago CA passed a strict immunization law – how has it affected vaccination rates?




NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 02:  A nurse fills syringes with influenza virus vaccine before the start of a drive-thru flu shot clinic October 2, 2009 in Napa, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - OCTOBER 02: A nurse fills syringes with influenza virus vaccine before the start of a drive-thru flu shot clinic October 2, 2009 in Napa, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Two years ago, after a measles outbreak originating at Disneyland, California passed one of the stricted immunization laws in the country which prevented parents from getting vaccination exemptions for their kids based on personal belief.

According to L.A. Times reporting, California now has a record high immunization rate, but still there are communities where vaccination rates are dangerously low. That’s because parents have found a way to circumvent the immunization law: doctor’s notes.

Because of SB 277, the only way for parents to get around vaccinations is to homeschool their kids or have a doctor write a medical exemption. Legitimate exemptions do exist, for example for kids who are undergoing chemotherapy or have an allergy to gelatin. But some doctors provide exemptions to kids who don’t require them, and that’s reflected in data on schools where over 25 percent of kids are unvaccinated.

Are medical exemptions becoming easier to get in California? We check in on the status of immunization in California since the passage of SB 277.

Guests:

Soumya Karlamangla, healthcare reporter for the LA Times; her recent story is “Pushback against immunization laws leaves some California schools vulnerable to outbreaks”; she tweets @skarlamangla

Vikram Anand M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; he’s also an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC