AVFCA’s letter to CDPH updates the
“Grandfathered” School Medical Exemption Guidelines
on the Shots for School website!
SB276 and SB714 were signed into law in California in 2019, modifying the statute that was put in place in 2015 by SB277 with regard to vaccine medical exemptions for school. As of January 1, 2021 these laws have gone into full effect. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) maintains guidelines for schools and physicians regarding these laws on their Shots for School website. This website was updated at the beginning of this year to reflect the new law. However, in doing so they did not update it to explain how “grandfathered” medical exemptions should be processed when children move schools within grade spans. In the last couple of months, A Voice for Choice Advocacy has been assisting hundreds of parents who have been trying to enroll their children in California private and public new schools within grade spans, but have been told by the schools that they are required to submit a new medical exemption into the CAIR-ME system. This is not how the law is written or was intended. While we have successfully helped all these parents through educating the schools in the law, AVCFA also requested CDPH update the Shots for School website to reflect the law and clarify the process for schools.
Earlier this week, AVFCA received confirmation that CDPH has updated their website, reflecting our request to clarify that children who are within grade spans and changing schools are not required to submit a new medical exemption and are not required to submit the medical exemptions into the CAIR-ME database. Specifically, the Shots for School website (https://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/exemptions/) now states:
2. Are medical exemptions filed for children in attendance at a California child care facility or school before 2021 valid in later years?
A medical exemption filed at a pre-kindergarten facility or school remains valid until the earliest of:
· When the child enrolls in the next grade span (TK/K-6th grade, 7th-12th grade)
· The expiration date specified in a temporary medical exemption
· Revocation of the exemption because the issuing physician has been subject to disciplinary action from the physician’s licensing entity.
15. Do medical exemptions issued prior to 2021 need to be uploaded into CAIR-ME?
No. Existing ME’s issued for children in attendance before 2021 will remain on file at schools and child care facilities and do not need to be uploaded into CAIR-ME.
If you are a parent whose child has a permanent medical exemption dated prior to January 1, 2021, and they are not at the TK/K or 7th grade checkpoint, and the school is telling you that you need a new medical exemption entered into the CAIR-ME system, please refer the school to the above two sections of the Shots for School website. If they still give you issues, please email AVFCA for further assistance.
Important Note: DO NOT submit any vaccine medical exemptions dated prior to 2021 to CAIR-ME or any other database. These should be filed directly with the school, even if your child changes school within a gradespan. If you filed a vaccine medical exemption prior to 2021, we recommend you file a privacy notice with it. (https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/AVFCA-Objection-to-Release-of-Immunization-Data-Final.pdf)
Reminder: Your child is exempt from the CA vaccination requirement if they are:
Homeschooled – A pupil in a home based private school or a pupil who is enrolled in an independent study is exempt from vaccination requirements. (SB277)
In Public school with an IEP or in a Private school with public school IEP services – A pupil with an IEP or IEP services is exempt from vaccination requirements (SB277 and Federal law). Your school may ask for their vaccination records to be on file if they have any, but cannot require them to be up to date or have a Medical Exemption on file for the remainder.
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TAKE ACTION: In 2020, the outgoing President signed an Executive Order that requires all UC students, faculty and staff living, learning, or working at any UC location to get the flu vaccine before November 1, 2020? https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2020/08/2020-21-flu-vaccination-executive-order.pdf
With the passing of SB277, the University of California also changed their vaccine policy in 2016, with the only exemption allowed to matriculate being a medical exemption, and in 2020 added a flu vaccine requirement.
In 2019, California State University also changed their vaccine policy, removing the religious exemption which had been available since 2002.
Most other universities/colleges currently still also have a religious or personal belief exemption. If you are not able to find a university/college exemption please email email@example.com and we can help you find the policy.
California State University
University of California
In 2020, the University of California is requiring all students, faculty and staff living, learning, or working at any UC location to get the flu vaccine before November 1, 2020
Flu Vaccine Executive Order
UC has issued two Flu Vaccine requirement FAQs – one for students and one for employees.
The new University of California Vaccination Policy went into effect with the 2018-19 school year.
University of California Vaccination Policy
University of California Medical Exemption form
UCs will take titer antibody serum testing in lieu of vaccinations with just the lab report. The thresholds have to be on the lab report showing that the titers are above the acceptable level. No need for a medical exemption for titers at UCs.
A Voice for Choice Advocacy has voiced our concern both in person to the UC Board of Regents, as well as in writing.
AVFC Letter of Concern – UC Immunization Policy
As have others:
Background information on UC Vaccination Policy
UC Immunization Plan Group
Myra Lijek UCB, Pam Cameron UCB, Nancy Bliss UCB, Sandy Santiago UCD, Tom Ferguson UCD, Laurie Brookner UCH, Christina Fingal UCI, Herbert Chan UCI, Chuck Adams UCI, George Huang UCI, David Baron UCLA, Tina Perdone UCLA, Michael San Filippo UCM, Liz Wiggins UCM, Gina Fleming UCOP, Susan Whitney UCOP, Ken Han UCR, Beth Wagner UCR, Lety Gonzalez UCSB, Mary Ferris UCSB, Debbi Saint John UCSC, Mary Knudtson UCSC, Stacie San Miguel UCSD, Annie Horton UCSD, Adele Anfinson UCSF, Susan Rosen UCSF
UC Immunization Exemption Policy Work Group
Mary Knudtson (Executive Director UCSC Student Health and Welness Work Group Chair), Adele Anfinson (Director UCSF Student Health and Wellness), David Baron (Executive Director UCLA Ashe Student Health Center), Dean Blumberg (Professor UCD School of Medicine ACIP member), Louise Cabanasay (Undergraduate UCSC), Amy (Amruta) Dixit (Graduate Student UCI), Thomas Ferguson (Medical Director UCD Student Health and Wellness), Mary Ferris (Executive Director UCSB Student Health Center), Gina Fleming (Medical Director UCOP Student Health and Counseling), Angela Gilliard (Director Legislative Affairs UCOP), Trish Hare (Executive Assistant UCOP Work Group Staff), Kelly Eldridge Hinosawa (Associate Director UCR), Francis Leslie (Graduate Dean UCI), Bernard Lo (Professor UCSF School of Medicine), Charles Nies (Vice Chancellor Student Affairs UCM), Rachel Nosowsky (Deputy General Counsel UCOP), Arthur Reingold (Professor UCB School of Public Health ACIP member), (Dorit Reiss Professor Hastings School of Law), Rob (Robert) Schecter (Dr CDPH Immunization), Frank Wada (Registrar UCLA), Eileen Yamada (Dr CDPH Immunization)
Lila Hayatdavoudi (General Counsel Backup for Nosowsky), Karen McComb (Director UCR International Student Resource Center UCR back up for Hinosawa)