The California School Immunization Law (Health and Safety Code, sections 120325-120375) requires that children receive vaccinations against certain illnesses in order to enroll in school. However, the law allows parents to opt out of the vaccination requirement by filing a letter or affidavit indicating that immunizations are contrary to their personal beliefs. This "personal belief" exemption was modified in 2014.
Effective January 1, 2014, parents claiming a personal belief exemption will now be required to submit an accompanying form, signed by a healthcare practitioner, indicating the parent has been informed about the risks and benefits of vaccinations. The personal belief exemption form must be signed by the student's parent and health practitioner no more than six months before entry into school. However, parents will not be required to obtain a healthcare practitioner's signature if they indicate on the form that they are a member of a religion that prohibits "seeking medical advice or treatment."
Despite the new requirements, parents are only required to submit a new exemption form when the child enters kindergarten or middle school, or moves to California from another state. Otherwise, exemptions filed prior to the new law remain effective.
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