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Immunization Waiver

New Documentation Requirement for Exemptions

Beginning July 1, 2019, California law modified the process for obtaining exemptions to student immunizations.
 
The parent or guardian must submit a signed, written statement from a physician (MD or DO) licensed in California which states:
  1. The specific nature of the physical condition or medical circumstance of the child for which a licensed physician does not recommend immunization.
  2. Each specific required vaccine that is being exempted.
  3. Whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary.
  4. If the exemption is temporary, an expiration date no more than 12 calendar months from the date of signing.

Source: https://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/regs2019/#Q10

Beginning Jan 1, 2016, California law modified the process for obtaining exemptions to student immunizations. 

The parent or guardian must submit a signed, written statement from a physician (MD or DO) which states:

  1. That the physical condition or medical circumstances of the child are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated.
  2. Which vaccines are being exempt.
  3. Whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary.
  4. The expiration date, if the exemption is temporary.
 
Any medical exemption filed for a child attending before July 1, 2019 remains valid until the earliest of:
  • When the child is next considered to be an admission at a school or pre-kindergarten facility (applies to both temporary and permanent medical exemptions), at which time staff will need to confirm if the previously filed medical exemption meets the newer requirements, or
  • The expiration date specified in the medical exemption (applies to temporary medical exemptions) or
  • Advancement to 7th grade, for a medical exemption from varicella vaccine or Tdap.
Please click here for a template waiver.  This form is not required
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
Question: Is a personal beliefs exemption still valid if a student transfers between schools in California after 2015?
Answer: Yes, a personal beliefs exemption filed with a school before January 1, 2016 is valid until entry into the next grade span (7th through 12th grade). Personal beliefs exemptions may be transferred between schools in California, both within and across school districts.
However, if the personal beliefs exemption documentation is no longer available, students must meet immunization requirements or be enrolled in an independent study program with no classroom-based instruction or in a home-based private school.
 
Question: Is a personal beliefs exemption from another state or country valid if a student transfers to a California school?
Answer: No.
 
Question: What will happen in future years when children with a prior personal beliefs exemption enter their next grade span in primary or secondary school (typically kindergarten or 7th grade)?
Answer: Children with a valid personal beliefs exemption filed before 2016 who enter a new grade span will have to meet all age-appropriate immunization requirements for admission into primary or secondary school (K-12th grade) (see www.shotsforschool.org/k-12/) or be enrolled in an independent study program with no classroom-based instruction or in a home-based private school.  In addition, all immunization requirements for age and grade will need to be met before entering 7th grade.
Therefore, in order to begin 7th grade, children who had a valid personal beliefs exemption filed before 2016 upon entry between kindergarten and 6th grade need to meet all requirements for children 7-17 years old listed at www.shotsforschool.org/k-12/ (e.g., polio, MMR, chickenpox and primary series for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), including the 7th grade requirements for Tdap and 2 doses of MMR.
 
Question: What are the requirements for students entering transitional kindergarten?
Answer: Students entering transitional kindergarten must meet the same immunization requirements as students entering kindergarten. A student who has met the immunization requirements for transitional kindergarten typically has met the requirements for the following year of kindergarten.
 
Question: May other practitioners, besides licensed physicians (M.D.s and D.O.s), provide a medical exemption to a required immunization?
Answer: No. Only a licensed Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) may provide a medical exemption.
In contrast, the other categories of licensed or credentialed practitioners in California previously authorized through 2015 to sign requests for personal beliefs exemptions (e.g., Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Naturopathic Doctor, or School Nurse) may not provide medical exemptions.

Question: Is there a standardized form for medical exemptions?
Answer: No.  This form was created for your convenience.  Any letter from an MD or OD containing the physical condition or medical circumstances of the child are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated, which vaccines are being exempt,  whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary and the expiration date, if the exemption is temporary, is acceptable.

Question: Are licensed physicians required to assist in requests for medical exemptions?
Answer: A licensed physician may provide a medical exemption but is not required to do so. Parents or guardians seeking medical exemptions should check with physicians in advance to clarify their policies on medical exemptions.

Question: What is conditional admission?
Answer: Children behind on their required immunizations may be admitted conditionally, if they are not currently due for any doses or have a temporary medical exemption. See http://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/conditional-admission/ for further information.