California child vaccination rate climbs following new law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s school vaccination rate rose in the first year that the state required almost all public schoolchildren to get immunizations.

State public health officials said Wednesday that nearly 96 percent of this year’s kindergartners have received all required vaccines. That’s a nearly 3-point increase over last year and the highest vaccination rate since the current immunization regimen went into force in 2001.

California’s vaccine rates have been inching up for the past three years after a state law made it harder for parents to opt out of vaccines due to personal beliefs. The law was further tightened in 2015, when lawmakers outlawed all personal-belief exemptions following a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland.

The law sparked impassioned protest in Sacramento and is being challenged in court.

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