Measles outbreak prompts California to re-think vaccine exemptions

LOS ANGELES -- The measles outbreak has spread to at least 145 cases in 14 states. More than half the cases are in California.

Now that state is re-thinking the rules that allow parents to opt-out of having their children vaccinated.

Three-year-old Uriah Krueger had one of the nearly 100 cases of measles reported in California. His mom Kellie says he was hospitalized for three days after developing the disease's distinctive rash.

"It started on his face... and overnight, he woke up the next day and it was over his entire body," Kellie says. "We were looking at our kid, who was just lying there not wanting to move, and thinking, 'You know, what is going to happen to him? Is he going to come out okay?'"

Uriah got his first dose of MMR vaccine when he turned one. That first shot is 93 percent effective but he still got measles, likely exposed to the disease by someone who had not been vaccinated.

"Parents are letting us know that our current laws are insufficient and don't protect their kids," says California State Senator Richard Pan, who's also a pediatrician.

He's introducing a bill this week to abolish California's personal beliefs exemption. Kids would be required to be immunized before attending school, except for medical reasons.

Nineteen other states allow parents to refuse vaccinations based on personal beliefs and 48 states allow for a separate religious exemption. Mississippi and West Virginia only allow for medical exemptions.

"I hope we don't have to wait for someone to die before we take this seriously," Pan says.

Sarah Wahrenbrock's daughter Elizabeth attends a daycare in Santa Monica shut down after a child got measles. Elizabeth is one of the 14 babies being quarantined and had to have a blood test to verify her immunity.

"It just seemed unfair to her, to us, to have to take this extra step," Sarah says, "as if the onus was on us, instead of people who for personal reasons hadn't immunized their children."

Those personal reasons are now facing very public scrutiny.