By Phil Willon
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed one of the nation's toughest mandatory childhood vaccination bills, moving to end exemptions from state immunization laws based on religious or other personal beliefs.
The legislation, which passed the Senate on Monday and the Assembly on Thursday, would require more children who enter school, or day care, to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.
The bill, one of the most controversial measures before the Legislature this year, was introduced because of concern about low vaccination rates in some communities and an outbreak of measles at Disneyland that ultimately infected more than 150 people.
Those with medical conditions such as allergies and immune-system deficiencies, confirmed by a physician, would be excused from immunization. And parents could still decline to vaccinate children who attend private home-based schools or public independent studies off campus.
"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Brown said in a statement released Tuesday. "While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."
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