Calif. Sees First Drop in Personal Belief Vaccine Waivers in 12 Years
The percentage of California parents who opted out of vaccinating their children last year because of personal beliefs dropped for the first time in 12 years, the Los Angeles Times reports (Xia et al., Los Angeles Times, 1/22).
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), parents are required to obtain documentation proving that health care practitioners have informed them about vaccines and diseases before they can opt out of vaccinating their children (California Healthline, 12/10/14).
Decline in Vaccination Exemptions
According to a Times analysis of public health data, the rate of vaccine waivers filed for kindergarteners in California dropped from 3.1% in 2013 to 2.5% in 2014.
Declines were larger in districts with high exemption rates, according to the Times. For example, the exemption rate fell from:
- 15.1% to 2% in the Laguna Beach Unified School District; and
- 11.9% to 5% in the Beverly Hills Unified School District (Los Angeles Times, 1/22).