I have written many, many posts on the status of the existing and future permanent all vaccine medical exemptions under SB 276/714 passed in 2019 and which went into full effect at the beginning of 2021. The net effect of the law was to close the ostensible loophole which according to SB 277’s sponsors, seemed to allow physicians some discretion to write some medical exemptions which were not based on the contraindications and precautions listed in the ACIP or Red Book Guidelines.
Technically, under SB 276(and SB 714) physicians can still submit medical exemption requests to the vaccine exemption registry for non-ACIP medical exemptions, but the CDPH has the power to overturn, deny or revoke any exemption that is not consistent with the ACIP guidelines.
Because ACIP does not recognize the concept of a permanent medical exemption for all school mandated vaccines, my expectation was and my continued belief still is that all permanent medical exemptions from all school mandated vaccines would be and are in the process of being revoked.
My sense is that is what has mostly happened. However, my perspective maybe skewed because families would only try to contact me if their child’s ME had been revoked. Through some of the communications, I have seen some things which are worth sharing.
First, it seems that the appeal process after a denial of a medical exemption can take many months. That has bought many families months of having their children in school without having to comply with the vaccine mandate. The bad news is that once the appeals process ends, the children have to come into compliance with the mandates/catch-up schedule to continue in school. At this point, that means the upcoming school year starting in the fall.
The upshot of all this is that practically speaking, the California medical exemption rules are now similar to most states’ medical exemption rules, which limit them to ACIP guidelines, which means that permanent global exemptions are not recognized. The difference is that many of these states have a religious exemption alternative. California and New York (and Connecticut) do not.
The other thing I have encountered consistently is that children who have otherwise valid SB 277 exemptions written for the same grade span are having their exemptions rejected if the student changes school in that grade span. I am not sure that is required or consistent with the law, but that is what seems to be happening, in many public schools as well.
Based on the Democrats strong control of the California legislature and the pandemic, I don’t see the law changing, and certainly not in the short term. So parents whose children have lost their permanent, global medical exemptions for the coming school year are going to have to choose between a few unpalatable and disruptive choices.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.