Opinion: What you need to know about the CA school vaccine law | SierraSun.com

Opinion: What you need to know about the CA school vaccine law

Dr. Ann Sura
Special to the Sun

With our children back in school, it has come to my attention that there is a lot of misinformation floating about with regard to Senate Bill 277.

SB277 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 30, 2015, and requires California children in public and private K-12 schools, licensed daycare facilities, in-home daycare and public and p

Nevada residents whose children attend California schools fall under this law as well to continue to attend California schools.

I have heard from many parents, friends and other practitioners that some schools and daycare facilities mistakenly believe that the law went into effect for this school year — that is not the case. The law currently goes into effect July 1, 2016, for school year 2016-2017.

The Personal Belief Exemption (CDPH Form 8262) created and published in October 2013 in response to the passage of AB 2109 is still effective and must be accepted by schools, pre-schools, and daycare facilities for this school year.

Families have until Jan. 1, 2016 to submit a CDPH Form 8262 (Personal Belief Exemption) for their child. Once submitted,hat child is then "grandfathered" in under this form for the "grade span" of that child (to the next "check point") or until/unless that child changes schools after January 1, 2016. See the fact check reference below for those grade span check points.

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Children should not be held out of school for not having a CDPH 8262 Personal Belief Exemption filed at the start of the school year; they have until January 1, 2016 to acquire one.

This does require an appointment with a doctor (MD, DO or ND), nurse practitioner, physician assistant or certified school nurse who will counsel the parent(s) with regard to the vaccines their child should be receiving per the CDC schedule, and allow for you to ask questions if you desire and decide as to what, if any, vaccines are right for you and your child.

The form is then signed and dated by the practitioner who has done the counseling. The parent then signs the form in 2 places and turns it into the school. I suggest that you make a copy of the form for your records.

Following is a quick fact check reference guide regarding SB277, from "Our Kids Our Choice," which identifies itself as "a growing group of over 9,500+ Californian registered voters who are parents, grandparents, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, business owners, concerned community members."

Visit ourkidsourchoice.org to learn more:

• AB 2109 is in effect for the 2015/2016 school year. This means that PBE's must be accepted (CDPH Form 8262).

• SB277 mandates that all children in public & private K-12 schools — this includes charter schools — licensed daycare facilities, in-home daycare and public and private pre-schools be vaccinated for 10 CDC-recommended vaccines including diphtheria, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae type b, measles, mumps, pertussis, poliomyelitis, rubella, tetanus and varicella.

• Other vaccines may be added to SB 277 in the future; however, a PBE must be allowed for all new additions, including the HPV vaccine.

• A child who, prior to January 1, 2016, submitted a letter or affidavit on file at a private or public elementary or secondary school, child daycare center, day nursery, nursery school, family daycare home, or development center stating beliefs opposed to immunization shall be allowed enrollment to any of the above until the child enrolls in the next grade span.

• In the context of SB 277, "grade span" means each of the following: a) birth to preschool; b) Kindergarten and grades 1 to 6, inclusive, including transitional kindergarten; and c) grades 7 to 12, inclusive.

• SB277 does not apply to a child in a home-based private school or a child who is enrolled in an independent study program pursuant to Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 51745) of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of the Education Code and does not receive classroom-based instruction.

Visit https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB277 to see a full explanation of the law.

Dr. Ann Sura is a Naturopathic Doctor with NaturaMed Natural Family Medicine in Kings Beach. Visit naturamedtahoe.com to learn more. She may be reached for comment at drannsura.nd@gmail.com.