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Judge denies request to put stop to California school vaccine law

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Posted at 2:44 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 22:18:14-04

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in San Diego denied a request Friday to block a state law requiring all children entering school or child-care facilities to be vaccinated.

A lawsuit filed by a group of 17 families and two foundations sought a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of Senate Bill 277 while the suit works its way through the courts.

In an 18-page ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw concluded that the plaintiffs failed to show they are entitled to the "extraordinary remedy" of a preliminary injunction.

RELATE: POLL: High majority of San Diegans against unvaccinated students in schools

Last month, the plaintiffs filed a motion alleging SB 277 violates their rights to free exercise, equal protection, due process and education.

The law -- which went into effect July 1 -- eliminated religious and personal beliefs as reasons for parents to opt out of getting their children vaccinated.

In enacting the law, state legislators said the intent was to provide a means for the eventual achievement of total immunization of appropriate age groups against childhood diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and other diseases.

The law requires all children to be vaccinated before attending public or private schools or day care facilities unless doctors give medical reasons for not doing it.

Following Sabraw's decision, attorney Kim Mack Rosenberg, who represents Education 4 All, said:

"While we are disappointed that SB277 will continue to adversely impact so many California children and their families, we will not stop our efforts to have the law declared unconstitutional. Plaintiffs contend that there are fundamental legal and procedural problems with SB277 and we intend to appeal this decision. All children in California deserve to receive the education that is their guaranteed right under the California Constitution."