Vaccination Information: California’s New Law

vaccineBy now you are probably aware of the new law regarding mandatory vaccinations in the state of California. You are also probably aware of the conflict surrounding this new legislation and vaccinations in general. What follows is a brief synopsis of the legislation itself and what exactly the new law requires.

Senate Bill 277 states that parents no longer have the option to claim personal beliefs or opposition to vaccinations for their children if those children will be attending any day care or private or public schools in the state of California.

The diseases that immunizations are required for are:

  • Diphtheria (DTaP vaccine)
  • Polio (either Inactivated Polio Vaccine — IPV or Oral Polio Vaccine — OPV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b or bacterial meningitis (Hib vaccine)
  • Measles (MMR vaccine)
  • Chicken pox (varicella vaccine)
  • Pertussis or whooping cough (DTap vaccine)
  • Rubella (MMR vaccine)
  • Tetanus (DTaP vaccine)
  • Hepatitis B (Recombivax HB® or Twinrix® on an accelerated schedule)
  • Mumps (MMR vaccine)

If additional vaccination requirements are added to this list by the California Department of Public Health at a later date, personal exemptions may still be allowed for those particular vaccinations.

If there is a genuine medical reason to not receive a particular vaccine — for example, having a weakened immune system caused by cancer or cancer treatment — that child would be exempt from this mandate and allowed to attend a public or private institution. Children who are enrolled in any home-based school or independent study program are not required to receive these vaccinations. Additionally, children cannot be denied special education services because of not receiving vaccinations, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

This law also supersedes a previous allowance for religious exemption to vaccinations. Mississippi, West Virginia, and now California are the three states in the US to disallow exemptions for that reason.

This law went into effect on July 1, 2016 in order to allow time for educators to figure out what they need to do to comply with the new law and to give parents time to decide what they want to do and what their options are.

Systems from each school district are being put into place to determine if vaccination requirements are being met for incoming kindergartners. It’s important to contact your local school district to ensure that your children are meeting the requirements as mandated by this new law. If a child currently holds a personal belief exemption declared before Jan 1, 2016, this law may not apply to them until they reach the age for their next round of vaccinations, either kindergarten or 7th grade. More detailed information and further clarification about vaccination schedules, exemptions, etc. will be available soon from the California Department of Public Health.

At the time of writing this post, there is a referendum drive beginning against this new law. Meritage Medical Network would like to remind our members that vaccinations save lives. We encourage you to get your children vaccinated and to consult your primary care physician with any questions you may have. For more information about vaccinations for school aged children and younger, please view our previous blog posts here and here.


Kirk, C. (2015, July 1). How tough are the vaccination laws in your state? Slate. Retrieved from

Meredith Adams, J. (2015, July 14). What schools and parents need to know about California’s new vaccination law. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

SB-277. (2015, June 30). California Legislative Information. Retrieved from

McGreevy, P. (2015, July 24). Opponents of new California vaccination law begin referendum drive. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, October 8). U.S. Vaccine Names. CDC. Retrieved from

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