New state law will make it harder to get exemptions from measles vaccine

There are signs that the measles epidemic is finally slowing down in the U.S.

Seventy or more new cases were being reported each week just before the disease began to tail off over the summer.

See the measles data from across the country and check vaccination rates in your area

The recent outbreak has been the nation's worst in the last 27 years.

In Los Angeles County, there have been a total of 18 cases among residents -- 11 among non-residents.

A recent study confirmed that Los Angeles is one of the most vulnerable places in the country when it comes to being exposed to measles, simply because of the high volume of travelers who come from countries with active outbreaks.

And the vaccine debate intensified over the recent passing of a new California law.

Michelle Ward brought her 5-year-old, Soren, to get vaccinated as part of his start to kindergarten.

Hearing about a recent measles exposure concerned her.

Ward said, "We do need to be up on vaccines. I certainly was careful about bringing my kids to public places."

The Los Angeles Unified School District has one of the highest exemption rates within school districts in California.

Over the last year, figures show that nearly 400 schools in the LAUSD had kindergarten immunization rates that didn't meet the recommended 95 percent rate for herd immunity .

Dr. Francisco Rivera has had conversations with many parents on both sides of the debate.

"The more you try to convince someone who is against vaccination using science the more than likely they won't vaccinate," Rivera said.

Vaccines are required for kids to attend daycare as well as public and private schools.

But for years many parents, concerned about vaccines have asked their doctors to write medical exemptions..

A new state law, just recently passed, will create more oversight, making it harder to grant these exemptions

Rivera said, "Vaccines are safe, they've been long established to be safe. They are some kids who will have some mild side effects, but the benefits we get from vaccines, the side effects pale in comparison. "

Ward says hesitant parents might be persuaded if doctors took more time to explain.

She said, "The reality is , taking care of your children is our primary job and having all of the info in a way where you don't feel like an idiot is important. It's something I look for in a doctor."
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