Calif. Reports Increased Vaccination Rates Among Kindergarteners
Vaccination rates among California kindergarten students are up from last year, following the introduction of new personal-belief exemption forms that parents must file if they do not want their children to receive immunizations, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health, the Sacramento Bee reports (Reese, Sacramento Bee, 12/9).
California law requires children entering kindergarten to obtain vaccinations for:
- Chicken pox;
- Hepatitis B;
- Rubella; and
Parents can obtain exemptions to those requirements if immunizations are against their personal beliefs. They also can obtain medical or temporary exemptions.
However, under a recent state law (AB 2109) by Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), parents are required to obtain documentation proving that health care practitioners have informed parents about vaccines and diseases before they can opt out of vaccinating their children (California Healthline, 9/3).
Details of Vaccination Rates
According to the new data from DPH, 46 of the 58 counties in California saw fewer personal-belief exemptions this year, compared with last year.
Specifically, the data show that the number of parents who filed personal belief forms to exempt their kindergarteners from vaccinations dropped by 20% from 2013 to 2014 -- with about 2.5% of kindergarten children opting out this school year, compared with 3.1% last year.
The change marks the first decline in exemption rates in at least a decade, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 12/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.