On June 30, 2015, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 277 (SB 277) changing school immunization requirements. The new vaccine law takes effect on January 1, 2016 and requires that all children in California be fully vaccinated to attend public or private school unless they have a valid medical exemption or a valid personal beliefs exemption on file with the District before January 1, 2016. Students will have to meet all of the age appropriate State immunization requirements for admission to school as of July 1, 2016.
The following questions and answers pertain mostly to primary school admittance and have been provided by OCDE’s Medical Officer, Dr. Marc Lerner and Coordinator of Health and Wellness, Pamela Kahn. For more information, please visit the Shots For Schools site (Shots For School – SPANISH)
What vaccines do students need to begin attending public school in fall 2015?
Children must be immunized against the following nine diseases: diphtheria, hepatitis B., measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis (polio), rubella, tetanus and varicella (chickenpox).
If a child starting first grade is up to date on vaccines, do they still need a physical exam?
Yes. The law requires that a health examination be completed up to 18 months before entry into first grade or within 90 days thereafter.
What about transitional kindergarten?
Transitional kindergarten entrants need to provide documentation of required kindergarten immunizations before admission.
If a child is in the process of having their required vaccinations completed, can they still enroll in school?
Yes. Children who are not currently due for any immunizations may be admitted on the condition that they will receive still-needed doses as they become due in the future.
If a parent has a personal belief exemption on file, will their child be allowed to go to school?
Personal belief exemptions submitted before Jan. 1, 2016 will remain valid until a pupil reaches kindergarten or seventh grade. At that time, children with a valid personal belief exemption filed before 2016 will have to meet all age-appropriate immunization requirements for admission into K-12, or be enrolled in an independent study program with no classroom-based instruction or a home-based private school, unless a new medical exemption is submitted to the school.
Is there a limit to how old a personal belief exemption form is?
A completed Personal Beliefs Exemption to Required Immunizations form signed and dated within six months of entry to school fulfills documentation requirements.
If a student has had chicken pox in the past, do they need to get the varicella vaccine?
If a physician provides a written statement that a child has had varicella disease, then the child can be exempted from the varicella requirement. The signed statement must be presented at school registration.
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