California legislature passes mandatory vaccine law

California is on track to pass one of the strictest mandatory vaccine requirements in the nation. The new law closes a loophole that allowed California parents to cite personal beliefs as a reason their child would not be vaccinated.

The measure, among the most controversial taken up by the Legislature this year, would require more children who enter day care and school to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.

The California House passed the new law in a 46-30 vote this week. The law now returns to the California Senate, and if passed, moves to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

The new legislation was a response to the measles outbreak that was traced back to the Disneyland in California, as well as a growing concern at the high number of unvaccinated children.

From January until May 29, 173 people in 21 states and the District of Columbia developed measles, and 117 of those cases were linked to Disneyland in Orange County, California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents still have two options if they do not want to vaccinate their children: they can either homeschool, or enroll them in independent studies.

[Los Angeles Times] [CNN]