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Changes to Medical Exemption Laws for Required School Vaccinations Take Effect January 1, 2021

By Carlos Villatoro, Public Information Manager

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is preparing to implement a pair of laws (SB 276/SB 714) that are intended to help ensure that medical exemptions for required school vaccinations are provided under appropriate circumstances.

Starting January 1, 2021, if a parent or guardian requests a medical exemption for their child, state law requires a physician to inform the parent/guardian of the requirements of Health and Safety Code section 120372, examine the child, and submit a completed exemption certification form to CDPH.

CDPH is putting the finishing touches on a standardized, statewide electronic form that physicians shall use when issuing a medical exemption. The system, dubbed CAIR-ME, is expected to launch on January 1, 2021, and will generate a document that the physician prints and provides to the parent or guardian. In the coming weeks, the Board will be sending a notice to licensees with the appropriate link and further information about CAIR-ME.

Further, no later than January 1, 2021, CDPH will begin to monitor patterns of exemption form submissions consistent with the requirements of Health and Safety Code section 120372, including those from physicians who issue five or more in a calendar year. CDPH shall identify exemptions that do not meet applicable Centers for Disease Control, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or the American Academy of Pediatrics criteria. CDPH may contact the issuing physician for more information to support an exemption. The law allows the State Public Health Officer to revoke an inappropriate or invalid medical exemption.

Also, under this law, CDPH is unable to accept a medical exemption form from a physician who has a pending accusation from the Board or is on probation for a disciplinary matter related to immunization standards of care.

For more information, please search for SB 276 and SB 714 on the California Legislative Information website.

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Information on the Measles Outbreak

Information on Vaccinations/Immunizations