January 25, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Vaccination
Approximately 93 percent of California kindergartners received all of their required immunizations by December 2015, an increase of 2.5 percent more than the previous year, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced last week. However, vaccination rates in 20 counties still fall below the percentage necessary to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.
CDPH officials noted potential role in the increase of public awareness from the 2014 measles outbreak at Disneyland and the extensive media coverage of the debate and passage of Senate Bill 277 (Pan and Allen, 2015). SB 277, which the California Medical Association (CMA) co-sponsored, removed the personal belief exemption (PBE) from school vaccination requirements, allowing exemptions only for medical reasons. SB 277 was not in effect during the time period covered in this survey.
The numbers of kindergartners excused from vaccinations because their parents opted for a PBE fell slightly, to 2.38 percent, almost the same as the rate for the 2011-12 school year. Under SB 277, the PBE will no longer be available to students entering kindergarten (or 7th grade, the other time when immunizations are required) for the 2016-17 school year. Exemptions will only be granted for medical reasons.
CMA is encouraged by the progress shown in this vaccination report, and believes the trend will continue with SB 277’s implementation.
Click here to read the CDPH report.