There is a lot of emotion surround SB277 (California’s vaccine bill) and I will attempt to simply provide the facts about what the bills means. Here are the top 10 factoids about SB277.
1. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB277 into law on June 30th, 2015 and it will go into effect on July 1, 2016. It is possible that its implementation may be delayed by a proposed referendum.
2. Personal belief and religious exemption waivers may still be obtained until December 31st, 2015. Your pediatrician, family physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or naturopathic doctor may sign a personal belief exemptions after counseling on the risks and benefits of immunizations and waiving immunizations up until December 31st, 2015.
3. Children with a signed exemption in kindergarten – sixth grade on January 1, 2016 are not required to get any vaccines until they enter 7th grade OR enter a new school district. They must have all required vaccines except Hepatitis B to enter 7th grade.
4. Children with a signed exemption in seventh-twelfth grade on Jan 1, 2016 are not required to get any vaccines…unless they enter a new school district.
5. Children who are home-schooled or are enrolled in online public school are not subject to this law.
6. Children who have an IEP (individualized education programs) are not subject to this law.
7. The required vaccines are TDaP, MMR, Polio, Hib, Hepatitis B and Chicken pox.
8. Vaccines that are not required by this law include Pneumovax, Rotavirus, Flu vaccines, Hep A and HPV.
9. There is no specific requirement as to when the vaccines must be given (e.g. it is not mandated that Hepatitis B be given at birth). Delayed schedules are possible, although the timing may be difficult if the child is attending preschool.
10. No new personal belief or religious exemption waivers will be accepted after January 1, 2016. Only medical exemptions are allowed. The author of the bill rejected a proposed amendment to allow NDs to sign of on medical exemptions. The guidelines are strict but rely on the doctor’s judgment. In the past, medical exemptions were allowed if the patient had already had the disease in question or had an immune compromising condition. The doctor is allowed to take family history into consideration. The CDC has a list of what they consider to be reasons for medical exemptions. Exemptions can be permanent or temporary.