A couple days ago, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) Immunization Branch (the head of which is otherwise hopefully soon to be known as “Defendant” in Ken Stoller’s lawsuit) published “Vaccinations and Medical Exemptions Questions and Answers.”
Here it it. Every vaccine concerned parent should read it.
The good news is that it gives authoritative answers to many, but not all of the questions that I have seen circulating in the California vaccine concerned community.
Here is the most important FAQ, and answers parents’ questions about how long a current ME is good for:
“My child has an existing medical exemption. Do they get to keep it?
Yes, all existing medical exemptions continue to be valid except as explained below.
• Parents of students with existing medical exemptions will need to submit a new exemption when the student begins a new” grade span.” Grade spans are: birth to preschool, kindergarten (including transitional kindergarten) and grades 1-6, and grades 7-12.
• The only existing medical exemptions that could be revoked are those that were written by a doctor subject to disciplinary action by the Medical Board.”
If you’re child is currently in transitional kindergarten though the 5th grade, you child’s current ME is good for the 2020-2021 school year (except for possibly exemptions written by a board sanctioned physician).
If your child is currently in the “birth to preschool” grade span, or is in the 6th grade, you will need a new ME to enroll your child in the next grade span for the 2020-2021 school year. Meaning whatever ME you have in your hands today will not be accepted next fall. You will need a 2020 medical exemption to enroll your child in the next grade span. People, this is not hard to understand, though it may be hard to accept.
What about switching schools in the middle of a grade span?
There is nothing in the CDPH FAQ’s which state or imply that switching schools requires a new medical exemption. I don’t see that in the law. I know there is talk/concern about switching schools being a “check point”. A “check point” might be something from a prior iteration of the law, but I do not see it in the new law, and neither does the CDPH. Which is not to say that a school might not misapply the old law or read into the new law such a requirement. What I am saying (and the CDPH apparently agrees with me) is that switching schools in the same grade span does not trigger a requirement for a new ME under the current law.
The illusion of broader than CDC guideline-based exemptions:
Consider the following two FAQ’s and their answers:
“My child has a health condition that is not listed in the federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Can they still get a medical exemption?
SB 276 and SB 714 do not limit the types of medical conditions that would qualify for a medical exemption. Medical exemptions can be granted for reasons outside of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines including family medical history, if they are consistent with the standard of medical care for that condition. Doctors issuing a medical exemption will provide a description of the medical basis for the exemption.”
“Does this change in the law prevent or limit doctors from granting medical exemptions?
No. Doctors will continue to have discretion to determine whether a child should get a medical exemption. When a medical exemption is issued, the doctor will describe the medical basis for the exemption. That basis must be consistent with the standard of medical care for a particular medical condition or align with CDC, ACIP, and AAP guidelines. Medical exemptions will only be reviewed when the immunization coverage at a school falls below 95% or the doctor has issued 5 or more exemptions in a year beginning January 1, 2020 or the school where the child with a medical exemption attends fails to provide immunization reports to CDPH.”
I call this an illusion because the so called “standard of care” is the CDC, ACIP and AAP guidelines, the most detailed explanation of which is in AAP’s “Red Book” of pediatric infectious diseases. This is the gospel according the AAP and sets out from on-high, the standard of care for all things infectious disease related. To talk about the conventional “standard of care” which is not in the above lettered groups/standards or in the Red Book is a set with noting in it.
My view is that there are very few, and probably no current medical exemptions written by vaccine-aware physicians which meet these standards. One of the reasons I think this is that the conventional standard of care does not recognized the concept of a medically or vaccine fragile child for which it is too dangerous to give any vaccine over the course of childhood. The new law makes clear that exemptions have to be vaccine specific based on the above guidelines which is the (conventional) standard of care.
Most conventional vaccine exemptions are temporary, based on a child being drug induced immunocompromised (chemotherapy for example) and once the therapy clears the system, the reason for the exemption ends. All childhood-based exemptions are for specific vaccines based on a reported and usually treated serious adverse event to a vaccine or a multiple vaccine shot. Conventionally, (wrong as you might think it is) a serious adverse event to one vaccine shot does not medically justify an exemption from all vaccines throughout the duration of childhood.
In short: despite the hopeful language in the FAQ answers, my view is that essentially none of the exemptions written by the vaccine aware physicians are compliant with the conventional standard of care, as set forth in the Red Book and the above lettered organizations or standards.
The big unanswered question:
Will the ME’s written by physicians who have been sanctioned be automatically revoked?
I have dealt with that in a prior post. I do not see a definitive answer in the CDPH FAQ’s, probably because they haven’t figured it out yet and they want to keep their options open.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.