Back-to-School Immunization Checklist
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277 in June 2015, significantly changing the immunization requirements for children entering public schools and day care facilities. The law, authored by State Senator and pediatrician Richard Pan, MD, MPH, FAAP (D-Sacramento), eliminated the Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) for currently required vaccines, making California only the third state in the nation to eliminate non-medical exemptions (Mississippi and West Virginia are the other two).
The law does not apply to home-based private schools or independent study programs with no classroom-based instruction.
Personal belief exemptions to vaccinations filed before January 1, 2016 are not subject to the new law until they reach their next vaccination checkpoint. The law defines these checkpoints as “grade spans,” as follows:
- Birth to preschool,
- Kindergarten and grades 1 to 6, inclusive, including transitional kindergarten, and
- Grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
For example, a 6th grade student with a personal belief exemption in December 2015 will still have to comply with vaccination requirements upon entering 7th grade, which is a vaccination checkpoint.
In just the first year since the law took effect, kindergarten vaccinations rates increased from 93 to 96 percent statewide – the highest rate since 2001.
School will be back in session any day now. Whether you are a parent, a provider or both, here is what you need to know.
Per the California Department of Public Health, immunization requirements required for public school entry in California are as follows:
*New admissions to 7th grade should also meet the requirements for 7-17 years.
Here’s wishing all the children in your life – whether they are your patients, family members or both – a safe and happy school year.
External Links and Resources
Vaccine Education Materials for Parents and Providers
Shots for School
California’s Annual Immunization Assessment
Immunization Resources for Providers
Immunization Laws and Regulations
SB 277 FAQ
CDPH Immunization Branch