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

Justin Streight

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.

"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."

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014

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?''

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."

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]