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California Governor Signs Tough Vaccination Bill Into Law

California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a highly controversial bill into law that mandates vaccinations for nearly all children in the state's public school system.

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

According to the Associated Press, the law eliminates "personal belief" exemptions that were formerly in place in California. Those exemptions allowed parents to exclude their children from routine vaccinations based on personal or religious beliefs.

Under the new law, only children with serious medical conditions can get an exemption and any other unvaccinated child has to be homeschooled, the AP reported.

Many parents and experts supported the law as a way to protect all children from infectious disease, pointing to a nationwide outbreak of measles last December. That outbreak originated at Disneyland and affected more than 100 people in the United States and Mexico, the AP said.

But others vigorously protested the measure, with thousands protesting at the state's Capitol in the past weeks, according to the wire service. Many said it infringes on parental rights and issues of informed consent.

California joins Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states in the nation that mandate vaccination for nearly all children in public schools, the AP said. The bill takes effect next year.

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