California gets strict on shots

California leads the nation with the most comprehensive childhood immunization requirements.

by Don Harward, Staff Writer

As of July 1, childhood immunization requirements in California became the most comprehensive in the country. Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB-277 into law on June 30, 2015, but its implementation was delayed by one full year to allow school officials adequate time to prepare.

SB-277 amends the existing mandatory childhood immunization statutes in two significant ways; first, it eliminated the Personal Belief Exemption and second, it extends the reach of the law beyond traditional schools—up-to-date vaccinations are now a prerequisite to attending pre-schools, child-care centers and home-based daycare facilities.

SB-277 does provide a medical-based exemption, which requires that a doctor provide a written recommendation that a child be excused from receiving a particular shot, usually due to allergies or a compromised immune system. Parents lacking proof that their children have had all their shots will have their child’s educational options severely limited–to only home schooling.

Anti-vaccination advocates, the Education 4 All Foundation filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court last month against various defendants, including the California Departments of Health and Education, seeking to overturn SB-277, claiming the law violates the right to an education under California’s constitution. The lawsuit was withdrawn after their motion for a temporary injunction was denied.

The San Diego City News service reported that the plaintiffs’ attorney Kim Mack Rosenberg said, “While we are disappointed that SB-277 will continue to adversely impact so many California children and their families, we will not stop our efforts to have the law declared unconstitutional. Plaintiffs contend that there are fundamental legal and procedural problems with SB277 and we intend to appeal this decision. All children in California deserve to receive the education that is their guaranteed right under the California Constitution.”

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