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California confronts vaccine exemptions head on with new legislation

Measles vaccination
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hundreds gathered in Sacramento to oppose legislation that would allow California state public health officials to decide which children can skip vaccines before going to school, taking the power to grant exemptions away from local doctors, the AP reports.

Details: Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan, the primary sponsor of the bill, said the legislation would help prevent future outbreaks, according to AP. Opponents of the bill argue that it takes away parental rights and isn't necessary for preventing outbreaks. There have been at least 20 confirmed cases of measles in California this year.

The big picture: Other states are working on passing legislation limiting which vaccination exemptions are acceptable. Washington passed legislation on Tuesday removing parents' abilities to claim personal or philosophical exemptions, but religious and medical reasons remain in place, according to the AP. Oregon is currently considering legislation that would only allow medical vaccination exemptions, per the Statesman Journal.

Go deeper: U.S. measles cases hit highest level since it was declared eradicated in 2000