A federal judge has denied an injunction against a new California vaccination law requiring children in public and private schools to undergo inoculation against contagious diseases.
When San Diego District Judge Dana Sabraw denied the injunction that four anti-vaccine organizations and 17 parents sought, he also took out a condition that exempted parents from vaccinating their children based on personal beliefs.
Some 33,000 students in California may be denied enrollment in kindergarten or the seventh grade if they don't get the vaccinations required for admission, said the plaintiffs.
Sabraw, however, countered that the right to education strongly protected by law in the state must give way to public interest in protecting the health of the children. He also added that the California Supreme Court has been upholding mandatory vaccination for school kids as far back as 1890.
California's new vaccination ruling was signed into law after a massive measles outbreak in 2014 was traced to unvaccinated children visiting Disneyland. It went into effect in July and joins others in Mississippi and West Virginia mandating vaccination against illnesses like measles, tetanus, rubella and mumps.
But while the law states all children require vaccination, it only calls on parents to show immunization records when a child is enrolling in kindergarten or the seventh grade. If an elementary student has a previous parental exemption then, they won't need to be vaccinated until they reach the seventh grade. The same goes for children in the eighth grade or higher.
The plaintiffs took to taking their opposition to court after they were unable to acquire the state ballot referendum needed to stop the law from being implemented. Kim Mack Rosenberg, the plaintiffs' attorney, said they will appeal Sabraw's decision.
Sen. Richard Pan (D-California), on the other hand, lauded the judge's ruling, saying that schools are already starting to become safer because of the support for the vaccination requirement.
Not all children can be vaccinated for health reasons, but those who can are strongly recommended to receive the necessary shots to keep contagious diseases at bay.
Under California's new vaccination law, those entering kindergarten or the seventh grade who can't receive vaccines because of medical reasons will be allowed to enroll after providing proof from their doctors.
There are different reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate their children and one of them is the belief that inoculation can cause autism. There are also those who have bought into the idea of natural immunity and that vaccines can overwhelm a child's immune system.