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Health Highlights: June 29, 2015

Calif. Vaccine Bill Heads to Senate for Final Vote

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Calif. Vaccine Bill Heads to Senate for Final Vote

A highly controversial bill that would mandate vaccinations for nearly all children in California public schools is expected to be voted on Monday by the state Senate.

The bill would eliminate "personal belief" exemptions currently in place in California that allow parents to exclude their children from routine vaccinations. Under the proposed law, only children with serious medical conditions could get an exemption, and any other unvaccinated child would have to be homeschooled, according to the Associated Press.

Many parents and experts support the bill as a way to protect all children from infectious disease, pointing to an outbreak of measles in December that originated at Disneyland and affected more than 100 people in the United States and Mexico.

But others have vigorously protested the measure, massing in the thousands at the state's Capitol in the past weeks. Many say it infringes on parental rights and issues of informed consent.

Should Bill Sb277 become law, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states in the nation that mandate vaccination for nearly all children in public schools, the AP said.

If the Senate passes the bill, it would only require the signature of Governor Jerry Brown to become law. But Brown, a Democrat, has not signaled whether he would sign the bill.

"The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered," Brown's spokesman Evan Westrup told the AP.

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