New Study Questions Impact of California's New Vaccine Law

Doug Sovern
November 08, 2019 - 2:22 pm

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California outlawed personal and religious exemptions from mandatory vaccines three years ago, and that raised the vaccination rate by almost 3%.

University of North Carolina medical geographer Paul Delamater, however, projected only a modest 0.5% increase in the number of immunized kids. He predicted a lower rate because of loopholes that opponents forced into the measure. 

“The philosophical and religious exceptions went away,” Delamater told KCBS Radio. “But we saw these increases in students who are exempt from requirements and increases in medical exemptions.”

Home schooled students are exempt, for example. Delamater said most of the initial improvement came from kids getting their shots on time, instead of after the school year began.

Dr. Richard Pan, the state senator behind the tougher vaccine campaign, doesn't agree with Delamater's hypothesis.

Delamater claims he wasn’t criticizing Pan's law by saying, “Some of my work may seem a little negative, but what I’m trying to do is shed a light on what happens when we try to legislate something like vaccination.”

Delamater said since the law is not “airtight,” parents will always find a way around it.