April 14, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Vaccination
Vaccination rates among California kindergartners are at their highest point since 2001, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Compared to 2015-16, the percentage of students attending kindergarten in 2016-17 who had received all required vaccines rose from 93 percent to 96 percent.
California's new vaccine law (SB 277), which was sponsored by the California Medical Association and took effect last year, eliminated the personal belief exemption and requires all children to be up-to-date on their vaccinations prior to enrolling in a public or private elementary school or child care center, unless the child has a medical exemption.
“This success is a first step toward reducing the number of unimmunized people putting our families at-risk for preventable diseases, thereby restoring community immunity throughout our state in the coming years, ” said pediatrician and Senator Richard Pan, M.D., who co-authored the bill with Senator Ben Allen.
The CDPH data shows that while vaccination rates rose for this kindergarten class, there are still large numbers of unvaccinated children who were exempted from vaccination when they entered school in previous years. A study in JAMA Pediatrics determined it will take California six years for the benefits of its new school vaccination law to be fully realized.