The 2016 California Policy to Eliminate Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions and Changes in Vaccine Coverage: An Empirical Policy Analysis

Vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to receive vaccination, is a growing public health problem in the United States and globally. State policies that eliminate nonmedical (“personal belief”) exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements are controversial, and their effectiveness to improve vaccination coverage remains unclear given limited rigorous policy analysis. In 2016, a California policy (Senate Bill 277) eliminated nonmedical exemptions from school entry requirements. The objective of this study was to estimate the association between California’s 2016 policy and changes in vaccine coverage.