California's New Vaccine Law Takes Effect, Anti-Vaxxers Consider Moving

A strict new vaccine law, signed by California's governor Jerry Brown last year, recently came into effect. The measure eliminates religious and other exemptions for school children. The state has been roiled in vaccine-related controversies, and the new measure promises to reignite debate on both sides.

California is home to a strong anti-vaccine movement, it is also the site of one of the worst measles outbreaks in recent American history. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, roughly 150 people, including many tourists from out of state, caught measles directly or indirectly from a case in Disneyland. The quick spread of the easily preventable disease was partially attributed to a drop in the rates of childhood vaccinations.

California's new vaccine law is getting plenty of resistance. [Photo by Illustration Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
California's new vaccine law is getting plenty of resistance. [Photo by Illustration Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]Governor Jerry Brown hopes to prevent another outbreak, and has sent a strong message in a statement that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks by far.
"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."
The anti-vaccine movement, also known as the anti-vaxxer movement, is fueled by fears that vaccines will cause autism, an allegation that has been proven false, but still persists. Even though California is regularly associated with the anti-vaxxers, the autism scare has been a subject of national politics as well. Donald Trump tweeted that there are many cases of vaccines causing autism.Although all children are required to be vaccinated at the start of their schooling, California will join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states to ban religious and other personal exemptions for vaccines with the new law, according to the Los Angeles Times. Currently, 80,000 Californian students claim those exemptions annually.

The new law still allows students to avoid vaccines for a few situations.

Students attending private home-schools will be exempt, and so will students with medical complications, like immune-deficiency disorders. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, there will also be a one-year adjustment period for parents who received a personal exemption prior to January 1st, 2016.

Still, opposition to the law is strong, especially in California's affluent and coastal areas. The San Jose Mercury reports that some parents are considering moving to other states that still allow exemptions. Others are looking into underground networks of doctors to provide false documentation.

A woman from Morgan Hill identified as Jensen is looking to Oregon for a new home for her and her children.

"You're going to deny my child an education because she has not had a chickenpox vaccine? Seriously?''
Vaccines frighten children, and, in some cases, adults too. [Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]
Vaccines frighten children, and, in some cases, adults too. [Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]Governor Jerry Brown supported a religious exemption as late as 2012, but the outbreak of measles, a disease that was supposedly eradicated in the U.S. in the year 2000, has apparently changed his mind. Parents like Jensen say the government is infringing on their rights as parents, but proponents say that by not getting vaccinated, the anti-vaxxer parents are undermining the safety of all children.

In 1998, only.77 percent of new kindergarten students had an exemption from vaccines. Last fall, that number had increased to 2.54 percent. That increase undermines what's called "herd immunity," a situation where so many people in the population are immune that there is no risk of an outbreak.

Dr. Paul Offit believes the new law is a step back towards safety for California.

"I think it's a great day for California's children. You're living in a state that just got a little safer."
California's new vaccine law officially went into effect on July 1st.

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]