Immunization for California Students

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Recent concerns about the rising rate of vaccine refusals have led to questions from members about whether all California students be immunized before entering school. The California School Immunization Law requires students to be immunized. This includes:

  • 1 Tdap
  • 5 DTAP
  • 4 Polio
  • 2 MMR
  • TB Test
  • 3 Hepatitis
  • 1 Chickenpox
  • 4 HIB

However, students are exempt from immunization requirements if (1) their parents sign a statement indicating that such immunization is contrary to their beliefs; or (2) their parents submit a statement from a physician indicating that immunization is not considered safe for the child. An exemption may be temporary or permanent and may be for specific vaccines or all vaccines. Schools may not use the decision not to immunize as a basis for denying admission.

Of particular concern this year is pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, students are required to be immunized against pertussis, or Tdap. For the 2011-12 school year only, all students entering 7th through 12th grades will need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school.

Due to concerns from schools having difficulty implementing the pertussis immunization requirement, the Governor recently signed SB 614 (Kehoe), which provides a 30 day extension after school begins for a local education agency to verify a student's pertussis immunization, under certain conditions, for this year only.

Beginning July 1, 2012, and beyond, all students entering the 7th grade will need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school.

Get more information from the California Department of Education.

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