- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

California Vaccination Rate Hits 20-Year High After New Law Goes Into Effect

© AP Photo / Eric RisbergA measles vaccine is shown on a countertop at the Tamalpais Pediatrics clinic Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in Greenbrae, Calif.
A measles vaccine is shown on a countertop at the Tamalpais Pediatrics clinic Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in Greenbrae, Calif. - Sputnik International
The vaccination rate in California among kindergarteners has hit a 20-year high as the result of stricter inoculation laws that make it much more difficult for parents to opt their children out.

Between the passage of the new regulation in 2015 and now, the rate of kindergarteners with all their state-required vaccinations increased from 92.6 percent to 95.6 percent statewide. The law rolled out on July 1, 2016, prevents unvaccinated children from enrolling in California public schools (barring a medical or allergy-related exemption).

The new law came about as a result of a measles outbreak in 2014 that started in Disneyland and spread throughout the state. Some 150 Californians were infected, and MIT epidemiologists claimed that the outbreak was the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children.

Работа прививочного кабинета детской поликлиники Калининграда - Sputnik International
No Jab, No Pay! Vaccination Rates Skyrocket in Australia

"It is gratifying to see that in the course of just one school year, more children — and the public at large — are now more fully protected from preventable diseases," said State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) in a statement. Allen was one of the bill's strongest proponents.

The law requires children entering kindergarten as well as seventh grade to receive vaccinations for illnesses such as measles, whooping cough, polio and hepatitis B among others. It required inoculation as a condition for enrollment in the state public school system, and removed religious or personal beliefs as a reason to opt out of vaccination. 

California Governor Jerry Brown said in 2015 that religious and personal beliefs are not reason enough to endanger children or their peers. "The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Brown said at the time.

A nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital - Sputnik International
Shots, Shots, Shots: Researchers Say We’re Close to Once-a-Decade Flu Vaccine

However, many children who were already in seventh grade or higher grades when the law was passed remain unvaccinated, says State Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician who helped author the bill. "We need to be sure to have our immunization levels high enough. The fact that this class and the state overall have now achieved this level is one further step to restore the community immunity we had before," he told the LA Times.

Pan claims that communities with vaccination rates beneath 90 percent have disproportionately higher rates of these infectious diseases, as the illnesses move quickly through unvaccinated individuals. Eight of California's 58 counties still have rates under the 90 percent threshold. "We need to shrink those pockets," said Pan.

Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states with similar regulations. 

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала