Reminder: The "Personal Belief" Exemption from Immunization Now Has New Requirements

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
August 2014
Number 49

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.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Other 2014 Back to School Client News Briefs

Changes to the Laws Regarding Independent Study Go Into Effect Immediately

Annual Notice Requirements Modified for 2014-2015

Reminder: Minimum Wage in California Increased in 2014

Courts Intervene to Keep Charter Schools Operating Pending Appeals of Revocation Cases

State Board of Education Amends Special Education Regulations Effective July 1, 2014

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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.