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Federal judge denies injunction against California vaccination law for schoolchildren

Vaccine law
Eight-year-old Coco, whose mother didn’t want to give her last name, holds a sign in front of San Diego’s federal courthouse on Aug. 12, 2016, in support of an injunction against Senate Bill 277. A judge denied the injunction request Friday.
(Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A federal judge has denied a request for a preliminary injunction against a new law that requires children in California’s public and private schools to be vaccinated unless they have a medical waiver from a licensed doctor.

In an order released Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego wrote that state Legislatures have “a long history of requiring children to be vaccinated as a condition to school enrollment, and for as many years, both state and federal courts have upheld those requirements against constitutional challenge.”

In July, a group of parents and advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit asking for the injunction. It is trying to block the California law’s elimination of personal belief exemptions, which previously allowed parents to enroll their children even if they weren’t up-to-date on the full vaccination schedule as published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sabraw’s ruling will allow the law to continue working as it has, but the group’s lawsuit against the state of California will continue. The plaintiffs include three families from San Diego County.

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Meanwhile, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated schoolchildren who cannot obtain a medical exemption must be home-schooled.

paul.sisson@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @paulsisson

Sisson is a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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