State investigates doctors over vaccination exemptions

State investigations are under way into at least four doctors accused of issuing questionable medical exemptions to children whose parents did not want them immunized.

The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday cited documents that show investigators with the Medical Board of California have sought records involving two doctors in Santa Rosa and two Sacramento-area pediatricians. 

The newspaper reported that at least one complaint expressed concern that doctors are making "easy money" on exemptions that are not based on medical need.

A spokesman for the medical board declined to comment on the cases.

The investigations come amid the nation's worst measles outbreak in more than 20 years.

They also come as state lawmakers consider controversial legislation designed to further restrict medical exemptions for vaccines which are required for students entering school.

A new study found California dramatically increased the number of kindergarten age students getting required vaccines, following efforts the state took after its measles outbreak in 2013.

Those efforts included both new laws that put limits on exemptions from vaccinations, as well as campaigns to educate the public.

The study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found the rate of kindergarten students without up-to-date vaccines decreased from almost 10 percent in 2013 to nearly 5 percent in 2017 after three interventions on the legislative level.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.