School Immunization Rates in California
How are school immunization rates obtained?
Each year, California schools with 10 or more kindergarteners provide Immunization Coverage Data to the California Department of Public Health. Smaller schools were excluded to help protect privacy.
What immunizations do children need to enter school in California?
California law requires that children receive specific immunizations before entering public and private Kindergarten-12th grade schools, licensed child care centers and related institutions. Most children need booster shots before starting kindergarten to meet these requirements.
In addition, California law requires that schools
Details are provided in the California Immunization Handbook for Schools and Child Care Programs.
What exemptions does California law provide?
Children with appropriate medical conditions may receive temporary or permanent medical exemptions if authorized by their physicians.
Children who have already had the diseases of measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox may receive exemptions from the associated vaccines if authorized by their physicians.
Parents or guardians who decline to have their children receive one or more required immunizations because of their personal beliefs may sign an affidavit on the back of the child’s CSIR to receive an exemption to the associated requirements.
To protect themselves and others from spreading disease, children with any of these exemptions can be excluded from school during an outbreak of a disease against which they are not fully immunized. Schools with lower immunization rates are more vulnerable to the spread of diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
Most children with exemptions have received at least some of the required vaccines. All immunizations that have been given to children with exemptions should be recorded on the CSIR. Schools and public health departments need this information to promptly protect students and the community when outbreaks occur.