Statement about SB 277 from TTUSD

“Senate Bill 277 Vaccination Legislation Signed by Governor
On June 30, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 277 (Pan, D-Sacramento, and Allen, D- Santa Monica) into law. This bill eliminates new personal belief exemptions from the requirement that children receive vaccines for certain infectious diseases prior to being admitted to any public or private elementary or secondary school or day care center. Governor Brown’s signing message read:
“SB 277 has occasioned widespread interest and controversy—with both proponents and opponents expressing their positions with eloquence and sincerity. After carefully reviewing the materials and arguments that have been presented, I have decided to sign this bill.
The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases. While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.
The Legislature, after considerable debate, specifically amended SB 277, to exempt a child from immunizations whenever the child’s physician concludes that there are “circumstances, including but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization . . .”
Thus, SB 277, while requiring school children to be vaccinated, explicitly provides an exception when a physician believes the circumstances—in the judgement and sound discretion of the physician—so warrant.
The bill exempts pupils with disabilities, noting it “does not prohibit a pupil who qualifies for an individualized education program, pursuant to federal law and Section 56026 of the Education Code, from accessing any special education and related services required by his or her individualized education program.” Additionally, home schooled pupils and pupils enrolled in non-classroom based independent study programs are exempted. Medical exemptions remain in law under SB 277.
The bill requires students who, prior to January 1, 2016, had a personal belief exemption to be immunized when he or she enrolls in the next grade span defined as birth to preschool; kindergarten and grades 1 to 6, inclusive, including transitional kindergarten; and grades 7 to 12, inclusive. A copy of the bill can be found here.
—Nancy LaCasse and Michelle McKay Underwood