Change in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in California After Elimination of Personal Belief Exemptions

JAMA
September 5, 2017, Vol 318, No. 9, Pages 771-878
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/issue.aspx

Research Letter
September 5, 2017
Change in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in California After Elimination of Personal Belief Exemptions
Paul L. Delamater, PhD1; Timothy F. Leslie, PhD2; Y. Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH3
Author Affiliations
JAMA. 2017;318(9):863-864. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.9242
California Senate bill (SB) 277 eliminated the personal belief exemption (PBE) provision from the state’s school-entry vaccine mandates prior to the 2016-2017 school year. Previously, vaccine-hesitant parents could acquire a PBE for their child based on philosophical or religious beliefs. Now, the only pathway for an unvaccinated kindergartener to enter a public or private school in California is with a medical exemption (ME), which requires a written statement from a licensed physician describing the medical reasons that immunization is unsafe.1 Previously, MEs were only granted to children with a contraindication to vaccination; however, SB 277 gave physicians broader discretion to grant MEs for reasons other than a contraindication, including family medical history.2,3