Is Anything Happening With California Schools Revoking Medical Exemptions from Disciplined Physicians? Yes, and it’s Hail Mary Time! (Updated with New Information

Is Anything Happening With California Schools Revoking Medical Exemptions from Disciplined Physicians? Yes, and it’s Hail Mary Time! (Updated with New Information

I have been asked about that. For what it’s worth, I have been receiving reports from parents that they are receiving letters from schools indicating that their child’s medical exemption is being revoked as of the coming school year based on the fact that the ME was written by a physician who has been disciplined by the Medical Board. I guess that the overwhelming majority of ME’s issued under SB 277 were issued by physicians who have already been disciplined or are under investigation.

I think it’s a school or district by district decision about when to notify families, and it a process that may take some time. But I think the safe and rational thing would be to assume is that if your physician has been disciplined, you will receive the notification letter so indicating and that your child will have to start the catch-up schedule which I have outlined in a prior post, and that your two choices are home school (difficult for high school I would think) or get your child vaccinated. Odds are that is the way it is going to play out.

Some of you out there are irate about this. Some of you feel that it violates your religious or constitutional rights. I have discussed these issues many many times and so have the courts. However, the courts have not been sympathetic to these big constitutional issues about personal freedom rights not to get mandated vaccines. You may not like it or agree with it, but I think any fair knowledgeable lawyer would tell you that I am right in terms of the state of the law, as it currently exists. Sure maybe the new Supreme Court religious conservative majority might change things in a year or three, but that is not going to help you for the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, and the lower courts apply the law that exists currently.

That all being said, I do have one off-the-wall idea. No guarantees that it will work, and it probably won’t, but you have nothing to lose, because right now, your child is either going to have to comply with catch-up or he/she won’t be in school next school year (or you can move out of state to someplace that still has a PBE or religious exemption). It’s that simple.

Here is my crazy idea (and it really is probably crazy).

If you get one of these revocation letters, send back a response that you want to appeal the decision to the school and/or CDPH and you would like the school to send you the information about the appeals process.

That’s it. There are probably eight thousand families which are going to receive this letter from their children’s schools in the next few months. Everyone should write back and say they want to appeal and ask for information about the process. Five or eight or ten thousand people writing this letter and requesting an appeal is going to have some impact and reaction from the schools and the CDPH.

Logically, there are three basic possible responses to your letter. 1. There is no appeals process. 2. There is an appeals process and here is the info, or 3. There is an appeals process (or we don’t know if there is) but contact CDPH.

If it’s 3, then request an appeal from the CDPH.

If 2. fill out the paperwork (and the first few who receive it should forward a copy to me).

If 1. I’d like to see a copy of a few of these letters because I think that could and probably will be a basis of a lawsuit, based on the denial of a statutory and/or constitutional right.

For those of you who have asked me about it and about my oblique reference in my post about the CDPH dropping the hammer, this is my answer and what I was referring to, funding permitting.

No promises about the outcome, but there is much hell to be raised, and you all are the ones to raise it.

That’s it. Get to work!

Rick Jaffe, Esq.


Someone sent me a copy of the letter. It does talk about an appeal process and even mentions appealing because the doctor had not been disciplined. That’s not the appeal I am talking about, since if you got the letter, chances are your ME writing doc has been disciplined. I am talking about an appeal of the decision to revoke the ME on the grounds that it is still medically valid, and it shouldn’t matter the status of the doctor. You want to appeal on the merits, just like there is a right to appeal on the merits for 2021-2022 ME’s.
Here is the letter one family received. Thanks family for the quick response.

Good afternoon,

Yesterday a letter was mailed home with information specific to your child. If you do not receive the written letter by May 5, 2021, please contact for another copy.

The California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch notified schools on April 14, 2021 that medical immunization exemptions are revoked if they were issued prior to January 1, 2020 by any physician who has had disciplinary action taken by the Medical Board of California or Osteopathic Medical Board of California. (Health & Safety Code, 120372(d)(4)).

The medical exemption we have on file for your child will not be valid for use at school starting the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

• Next step: Contact your child’s physician.

If your child does not need a medical exemption, your child’s physician can help your child catch up on needed vaccines. (For more information, visit
Students in grades TK/K-12 need:
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP, DTP, Tdap, or Td) — 5 doses (4 doses OK if one was given on or after 4th birthday. 3 doses OK if one was given on or after 7th birthday.)
Polio — 4 doses (3 doses OK if one was given on or after 4th birthday)
Hepatitis B — 3 doses (Not required for 7th grade entry)
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) — 2 doses (Both given on or after 1st birthday)
Varicella (Chickenpox) — 2 doses. History of disease does not meet this requirement.
Students in grades 7-12 also need Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) —1 dose given after age 7
If your child still needs a medical exemption, go to the California Immunization Registry – Medical Exemption web site at to request a medical exemption.

•To appeal this decision:

If you believe the physician who issued the exemption prior to 2020 has not had disciplinary action taken by the Medical Board of California or Osteopathic Medical Board of California, you may appeal the decision within 30 days of this notification of the revocation with the California Health and Human Services Agency. (emphasis added).

Children whose medical exemptions are revoked for the reasons above must provide updated documentation to their school prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Acceptable documentation includes record of receiving required immunizations or a medical exemption issued through the California Immunization Registry Medical Exemption web site.

If you have any questions, or need information on appealing the decision, please refer to .

Thank you.”

Comment by the family:

However, question 17 says nothing about the appeal process. If you click ‘letter’ where it says ‘Additional details are in the letter to child care facilities and schools’ it opens up the letter sent to all the schools and only there, 3/4 of the way down the page, does it say ‘instructions and appeal form’. Here is the appeal form:

So the information is out there, but it sure is buried! I do intend to start the appeal process and I wanted to share with you the letter above that I received.”

The principle and tactic is the same. Contact your school and tell them you want to appeal to the school. Let them write you back that it doesn’t have an appeals process. Do the appeal too.

17 thoughts on “Is Anything Happening With California Schools Revoking Medical Exemptions from Disciplined Physicians? Yes, and it’s Hail Mary Time! (Updated with New Information

  1. Mr Jaffee – thanks for your response here to all families. Are there really only about 8000 statewide?

    So a class action isn’t an option for all 8000 of the families?
    I would think a public focus on this topic now that we had schools closed,opened, closed, open
    And the zoom fiasco forced would make lawmakers and courts rethink this archaic law –
    They are forcing our kids back to zoom or move.
    I would think this now given them last few months, pressure from public news on this across the country in media outlets, would give us a move to the Supreme Court faster?

    Again, this law was done before the Pandemic and would think it would be re-reviewed. Also, I think public outcry of a public action lawsuit here would put MORE pressure on Mr Newsom to revisit this law given his Recall proceedings no??

  2. Sharing this so families can act on your idea. Thank you for fighting for all California families

  3. Isn’t that scenario what the CDHP is hoping for? ME’s for two reasons. One, amo against the doctors that wrote them (now that they will have them in their hands) and two your child’s medical information in the system?

    1. fair points for sure. Of course, the predicate of this all is that the doc has been disciplined. But I suppose since anyone can file a complaint with the board, the CDPH could file for each appeal. That is a risk to the doctor. And it is also true that if you send the CDPH your child’s records to support an appeal, then they have your child’s records, which some may find unpalatable.
      I have a new tweak to the idea after receiving some feedback.
      stand by

          1. Thank you for your reply. I discovered your follow up post after I commented. I am very appreciative of the analysis you provide.

  4. Vmax is correct. Curious what your “tweak” now is??
    For those whose Dr is already suspended guess it doesn’t matter or does it?
    Like Dr Stollers patients?
    Inquiring minds like to know 🙂

  5. Hi, can you tell me are children who have an IEP still exempt from the vaccinations or has that also changed now? Thank you for all your help and information

  6. One advocacy group has suggested that we email directly to the CHHS appeal email address and write our own appeal instead of filling out the form, because we can’t submit the form because our doctor has been disciplined.
    “Therefore we recommend filing an appeal which you should do on the 29th day after you were notified of the revocation.  While we don’t think the appeal will be granted we don’t know because no one has tried!  Here is what we recommend writing to the appeal board – please edit to make sense for your family:
    Subject: Vaccine Medical Exemption Appeal
    Dear CDPH Vaccine Medical Exemption Appeal Board
    In the last 30 days we received an email from our child’s school stating that their vaccine medical exemption would be revoked at the end of the school year because our child’s doctor had previously been disciplined by the California Medical Board.  We would like to appeal this revocation of our child’s vaccine medical exemption.
    Our child’s doctor, Dr X served three years’ probation X for giving xyz. While we understand that the law states that pre-2020 medical exemptions will be revoked if a doctor has ever been disciplined, we also understand that we can appeal this decision to override that revocation.  Dr X’s actions, for which he was disciplined, do not give adequate reason for our child’s vaccine medical exemption to be arbitrarily revoked because he had ever been disciplined.  We ask you to grant this appeal and allow our child to continue attending school with this pre-2020 vaccine medical exemption, until the next checkpoint grade.  If you refuse this appeal, please give an explanation for why prior disciplinary action, which has nothing to do with vaccines, should invalidate our child’s medical exemption.
    Are you suggesting appealing the state or appealing the school? I’m confused on your recommendation.

    1. Thank you so much for posting this information and the wording suggested for the appeal letter! We just met with the Principal this morning of our daughter’s high school (which sent us the letter) and as expected he told us that they are not responsible and we need to contact the San Marcos Unified School District. I’m sure when we contact them, they will as well say that they are caught in the middle and not responsible and to appeal directly to CDPH and CHHS (which we will also do).

      In the meantime, I’m trying to find someone to help us write this appeal letter (our doctor is deceased and the disciplinary actions against him were non-vaccine related) so we have even the slightest chance with this fiasco. May I ask who you connected with and why they said to wait until the 29th day to file the appeal?
      I’ve reached out to a couple of groups (A Voice For Choice Advocacy and Children’s Health Defense) as well as many others but as of yet haven’t received much assistance. Thank you!

      1. Hello, Karina! My son used to go to San Marcos HS also. The doctor that issued his permanent ME is also deceased. Maybe it could be the same doctor..

        1. Hi Elvira! Our doctor was Dr. Gary Shima. Was that your son’s doctor as well? I’m assuming since your son is no longer attending HS you don’t have to worry about all of this any longer.

          1. Hi. Yes! Same doctor. Well, he’s no longer in SM district. He’s now attending school in Escondido but since he has an IEP they can’t force me to vaccinate him. The issue now is with my 6 yr old daughter who’s supposed to go to 1st grade. They won’t accept her w/o getting caught up.

          2. I’m so sorry you are in this situation with your 6 year old daughter! A friend of mine has suggested that there are some schools in our community that are considered online but let the kids come on campus for sports & club activities so at least they are getting some interaction with other kids. Perhaps a way around this horrible situation? I wish I could do the same for my daughter but unfortunately she is dead set at being back in school with her friends.

  7. Well I am here because I am one such parent that received the letter. I am on the edge of making the appeal because it is specifically asked of you to send a copy of the ME. I feel this is private medical information and I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with anyone. I also have the feeling that the appeal process is bogus and is just there to say that they are trying. I might be wrong but it would be interesting to hear people’s experiences on the appeal process and the outcome.

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