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California made it hard to avoid vaccinating kids. Medical waivers have tripled. Now what?

Three years after California stopped allowing families to easily opt out of childhood vaccines, the number of kids getting medical waivers has tripled—the result, critics say, of some doctors loosely issuing exemptions to help families get around the law.

The decrease has left some counties, including Nevada and Plumas, below the recommended vaccination rate required for “community immunity” against dangerous diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

And the number of medical exemptions will continue to rise unless the state clamps down, warns a study in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The authors interviewed local public health officers across the state, some of whom complained of doctors charging fees in exchange for writing exemptions.