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Viewpoint |

Measles Outbreak as a Catalyst for Stricter Vaccine Exemption Legislation

Y. Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH1; Leila Barraza, JD, MPH2; Kim Weidenaar, JD3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
2Division of Community, Environment and Policy, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson
3Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe
JAMA. 2015;314(12):1229-1230. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9579.
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This Viewpoint discusses how a recent measles outbreak may lead to tightening of US school immunization laws and describes the recent passage of such a law in California as an example other states might follow.

Following a multistate measles outbreak that began in Disneyland, California legislators responded to the outbreak by passing legislation repealing exemptions for philosophical and religious beliefs.1 Although the legislation retains medical exemptions, it makes California the largest state to have such strict childhood vaccination requirements, joining only West Virginia and Mississippi. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, children whose parents refuse vaccination and are unable to secure a medical exemption must be homeschooled.1 School-aged children who currently claim a nonmedical exemption can maintain it until the time they enter kindergarten or seventh grade, the state’s 2 vaccine checkpoints.1 The law applies to both public and private schools, as well as day care facilities.1

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