CALIFORNIA BAN ON NON-MEDICAL VACCINE EXEMPTIONS LED TO COVERAGE SPIKE IN ‘HIGH-RISK’ COUNTIES

California law stopping parents from citing religious or philosophical beliefs to opt out of vaccinating their children has improved rates of shots, a study has revealed.

In 2016, a ban on nonmedical exemptions from school entry requirements came into effect. To uncover what effect this had, a team of researchers examined county-level data on measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage from 45 different state public health departments between 2011 and 2017, and from 17 states between 2010 and 2017.

After Senate Bill 277 was adopted, MMR coverage in California rose by 3.3 percent, nonmedical exemptions dropped by 2.4 percent, and medical exemptions went up by 0.4 percent during this period. Overall vaccination coverage rose by 4.3 percent, nonmedical exemptions by fell by 3.9 percent, and medical exemptions grew by 2.4 percent.

The data revealed changes in vaccination coverage across counties ranged from -6 to 26 percent, with the biggest spikes in “high-risk” counties where rates of shots were previously lower than the state average.

The researchers said the increase in medical exemptions was offset by the bigger reduction in nonmedical exemptions.

Read the full article on Newsweek here.