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Before Thursday’s Assembly Committee Vote, A Look At The Amended Vaccine-Exemption State Bill

Doctor giving a patient a shot with needle.
Doctor giving a patient a shot with needle.
Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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California public health officials would have oversight of doctors and schools with high numbers of medical exemptions for vaccinations under a legislative compromise announced Tuesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the bill's author disclosed the deal aimed at cracking down on fraudulent exemptions issued by sympathetic doctors.

The updated measure by Sen. Richard Pan removes a provision that would have required health officials to consider every exemption requested and expands the criteria for granting exemptions.

The California bill is aimed at deterring "doctor-shopping." Proponents said some doctors have been selling immunization exemptions since California ended non-medical exemptions in 2016.

The proposed bill would bar doctors from charging for filling out a medical exemption form and conducting a related medical examination.

Health officials would take a targeted approach on exemptions, concentrating on doctors who write five or more exemptions each year and schools with a vaccination rate below 95 percent.

Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, agreed to the changes as the Assembly Health Committee prepares to consider the bill on Thursday. Busloads of opponents again plan to crowd what have become raucous public hearings.

The previous iteration of the bill cleared a Senate committee and the full Senate, riding on Democrats' overwhelming legislative majorities. It had no Republican votes.

With files from the Associated Press

With guest host Kyle Stokes


Melody Gutierrez, Los Angeles Times reporter covering state government and politics in Sacramento who’s been covering the story