Children are now required to have a medical exemption in order to enter school without immunizations.
A bill eliminating the personal belief exception was passed by the legislature a year ago and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
It was introduced following a measles outbreak at Disneyland where over 130 people contracted the viral disease.
Leah Russin is executive director of Vaccinate California. She says the new requirement will increase protection against disease.
“Preventive health is one of the best tools we have, like washing your hands. Washing your hands and getting vaccinated are what can save lives. And this bill will save lives," she says.
Under the law, children must obtain a medical exemption from a licensed physician to avoid immunizations. There are 10 vaccines students are required to get, including hepatitis B, measles, and rubella.
Children entering daycare, kindergarten or seventh grade must be up to date on their immunizations.
“The science and medical professionals all agree that California’s approach is the best and the safest for children. And it’s important in California because we really had reached a tipping point where we were vulnerable to disease,” Russin says.
Parents who submitted a letter stating their opposing beliefs to immunization prior to January 1, 2016, will still be able to enroll their children in school without the required vaccinations.