The state Senate has passed a bill that would require virtually all California schoolchildren to be vaccinated.
SB277 would end the "personal belief exemption" that allows parents to opt out of vaccines on behalf of their children and send their kids to school with some vaccinations or none at all. The Senate voted 25-10, mostly on partisan lines, after a long debate Thursday morning.
The bill's co-author, Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), introduced the bill in the wake of a measles outbreak earlier this year that started at Disneyland.
While statewide vaccination rates are high -- over 90 percent -- some communities have high rates of children with a personal belief exemption on file with their school districts. In some schools, the rate of personal belief exemptions can be 50 percent or much higher.
"When you have pockets of low vaccination," Pan said, "we need to do more to protect our communities. ... This is a matter of public safety."