Previously I’ve tried to explain each of the two operative provisions of the new California vaccine law, Health and Safety Code Sections 120370, and 120372 separately. In retrospect, that was confusing.
I think a better approach is to talk about the three types of medical exemptions under the new law, and the different types are really just temporal differences, meaning grandfathered exemptions (current exemptions and those written up until December 31, 2019), transition exemptions written during calendar year 2020, and medical exemption forms submitted upon the full implementation of the law on or after January 1, 2021.
What I have written has made some folks eyes glaze over because of all the information, so in this post I am only going to talk about what I think is the clearest part of the new law, namely exemptions under full implementation starting January 1, 2021. And to make this easier to read, there will be no statutory citations or quotes from the statute.
Here is what the new law requires in 2021 and beyond, and what it means to the families.
1. Exemptions are by submission of a state created form which will contain at least the information set out in the statute. (the form could contain more requested information).
2. Exception forms are filed in the CAIR database.
3. Exemptions must be based on the current standard of care, which theoretically could possible include family history, but only if it comports with the accepted standard of care. In my opinion none (or virtually none) of your exemptions will meet that standard.
4. The state has the power to review any medical exemption form.
5. A medical exemptions can be revoked if it does not comport with the accepted standard of care.
6. A decision to revoke an exemption can be appealed.
7. During the appeals process, (however long that takes), your child stays in school.
8. In addition to exemption revocation, some exemption forms will not be accepted; specifically all exemptions written by doctors (i) under most forms of board sanction, (ii) who are the subject of a board sanction proceeding, (i.e. have an Accusation filed against them) and (iii) who the department of health thinks is creating a public health risk by writing that/those exemptions. I predict that this last “public health risk” exception will be applied to any physician writing exemptions for all vaccines for an entire grade span which is the closest thing there is to a permanent exemption under the new law.
9. I read an exemption which is “not accepted” as not being subject to a revocation appeal, because “not accepted” is different from revocation. But that could be a matter of interpretation by the health department.
That is the new law as it will apply to all exemption forms submitted on and after January 1, 2021
What it Means to Physicians
The law creates extreme disincentives for physicians to write medical exemptions. Anyone writing 5 or more medical exemptions can and probably will get reported to the Board for investigation.
The state department of health has the right to reject all medical exemptions from any doctor who it thinks is endangering public health. As indicated above, I believe these folks believe that any physician who writes even one exemption beyond the conventional standard of care is endangering public health, so it is unlikely that any such exemption form you submit will be accepted.
In addition, physicians cannot charge for an examination for a temporary exemption or for filling out the form.
It will only be the brave and very foolhardy doctor who attempts to obtain a medical exemption from all vaccines for a grade span for any child.
In short, I think the new law will end medical exemptions for what the vaccine community considers the medically or vaccine “fragile.” I think it also ends exemptions for all vaccine injured children, unless a child has a contraindication for every single vaccine from which exemption is sought.
I think this part of the law is clear. What the law says and how it will be interpreted as to the other two categories of vaccine exemptions – grandfathered and exemptions written in 2020, is not clear. To explain why, I will have to cite and quote the law and get into the weeds, which I’ll do in another post.
Rick Jaffe, Esq