CALIFORNIA NEW VACCINE LAW – WHAT TO KNOW
On June 30, 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 277 into law a vaccine bill that bans personal and religious exemptions for schoolchildren. Medical exemptions, such as for those children with physician-certified allergies and immune-system deficiencies, will be allowed for those entering day care and kindergarten; this law can be viewed by clicking the link to SB277
Accordingly, and effective July 1, 2016, California bans students from enrolling and, therefore, cannot enter a public or private school unless their family provides proof their child has been inoculated against ten (10) designated diseases. Only two other states in the nation have such a law [West Virginia and Mississippi are the other two].
Previously, parents could obtain a Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) from the immunization requirements for personal and religious beliefs. Although they can no longer obtain such an exemption, any parent or guardian who filed such an exemption prior to January, 1, 2016, will have the benefit of and, therefore, the exemption will remain in effect until their child reaches Kindergarten or 7th grade.
There are three exceptions in which the subject immunizations are not required: (1) home-based private schools; (2) special education services specified in an individualized education program [IEP]; and, (3) students enrolled in an independent study program who do not receive classroom-based instruction
On July 1, 2016, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Diego to obtain an injunction to stop the enforcement of the law. These opponents claim they are being denied their right to a public education, and the new law violates the U.S. Constitution and their right to equal protection and due process of law, particularly their right to exempt their children from one or all of the required vaccines because they have inherent risks and unintended consequences.
However, many preventable diseases, including whooping cough, mumps and measles, have risen due to an increasing number of individuals who have declined vaccinations, thereby deemed to negatively impact a growing rate of schoolchildren.
For a detailed recitation of the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Law in California, click this link to the Health and Safety Code.