Calif. governor signs strict vaccination law

Calif. governor signs strict vaccination law
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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday signed a strict new vaccination law, eliminating exemptions for people citing personal beliefs. 

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The move follows an at-times fierce debate over mandatory vaccinations and parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, in California and around the country. 

The issue briefly entered the presidential race in February after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that parents should have some choice as to whether they vaccinate their children.  Christie later walked back those remarks, saying that children should be vaccinated "no question."

In a signing statement, Brown acknowledged the debate but said he was coming down on the side of science. 

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” he said.  “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”

While the law requires almost all children attending school to be vaccinated, there is still an exemption if a doctor concludes a child should not be vaccinated, for reasons including family medical history. 

The issue of vaccinations has been particularly prominent in California given an outbreak of measles at Disneyland late last year. That outbreak spread across state lines and included 117 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.