A little More on Cali. SB 276/714 Permanent Medical Exemptions

A little More on Cali. SB 276/714 Permanent Medical Exemptions

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 However, my perspective maybe skewed because families would only try to contact me if their child’s ME had been revoked.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.

14 thoughts on “A little More on Cali. SB 276/714 Permanent Medical Exemptions

  1. Mr. J – thank you for this.
    Of course, if you can find a physician to “try” now a days to write and exemption, Good Luck! They are all frightened to be called out and like to stay under the radar from the CDPH.
    This CA Dems state and PAN is such a joke and shameful.

    So its “possible” to move forward, get into an appeal process, as you mentioned that might take months+, and during this time your child would obviously continue their schooling until due process. Maybe, by that time your child would be very far along and/or close to finishing the year or graduation if your that close? hmmmm

    1. Many of those folks did that this year. The lesson from this is for parents whose kids are covered by an SB 277 ME this year going into a new grade span (7th) next year. Maybe they can buy all or the better part of the year, but that’s about it. But if the rejection and process is over mid year, don’t expect any accommodation from the catch up schedule and the child will be getting a lot of vaccines in a short period of time, which is perfectly safe according to the medical authorities!

    2. Please clarify the following: Are you saying that ALL grandfathered permanent exemptions that are protected by SB 277 are being pulled now? Or, are you saying that they are being rejected when students graduate to the next grade span or switch schools specifically? Also, shouldn’t parents have been notified of the exemption status for next fall already? it is June. Also, not all grandfathered MEs are on the registry, so how are they going about this process? My friend’s child is entering 8th grade next year, and she is concerned for her son. Thank you.

      1. Are you saying that ALL grandfathered permanent exemptions that are protected by SB 277 are being pulled now?
        No I am not saying that. SB 277 ME’s are good for the grade span in which it was written (i.e. the child had to be in school at the time the ME was written) and should remain valid unless the physician 1. was disciplined by the board and 2. has died. Apart from that, I have heard of many cases where a child in a grade span switches schools and the new school requires a new ME, and they are per SB 276/714.

        Or, are you saying that they are being rejected when students graduate to the next grade span or switch schools specifically?
        See above. ME’s are only good for a grade span, so it’s not that they are being rejected when the child goes into the next grade span. They are only good for one grade span under the law (SB 277).

        Also, shouldn’t parents have been notified of the exemption status for next fall already?
        I think that is happening now.

        Also, not all grandfathered MEs are on the registry, so how are they going about this process? SB 277 ME’s do not have to be registered with the CDPH CAIRS system. It was in SB 276, but it was removed via SB 714 as I recall.

        My friend’s child is entering 8th grade next year, and she is concerned for her son.

        the grade span is 7-12, If he is finishing 7th grade now, in 2022, then how does he have an SB 277 ME in 2021 when he started the 7-12 grade span. Any prior SB 277 ME would have been for a different grade span (k-6). So I don’t understand how he had a valid SB 277 ME for grades 7-12. Becasue the facts are inconsistent with what I think the law requires, I can’t really give you an answer about that.

        1. I apologize, I made a typo. He is in the 11th grade and has a permanent ME, which was written prior to SB 277 and was grandfathered in. He has already entered into the final grade span. He is not switching high schools and has not received notice that his ME is no longer valid. Should my friend be concerned at this point that it will be pulled?

  2. I do not believe that the law requires a new “permanent” ME at each grade span. I’m confused as well.

    1. Physicians can write an ME throughout the duration of childhood. However, ME’s under SB 277 are only good for the grade span the child is in when it was written. After the child moves to the next grade span (7th grade) a new ME is required. If you go on the CDPH web site and look at the FAQ’s for SB 277 ME’s you’ll find it.

  3. My grandson’s exemption is supposedly revoked since his doctor’s name was on that long list of doctors with disciplinary actions. As you said in this notice, it went into effect early 2021, but with Covid and other issues.

    If we receive notice, how many vaccinations would he have to get (10 years old going into 4th grade) and how long do we have to comply?

  4. Notice just came for my 10 year old nephew.

    How long does he have to comply with vaccinations and how many is required.

  5. My daughter’s ME was written Feb 2019. She was then in 6th grade. Entered 7th grade Sept 2019 with this exemption.
    Her doctor is not on the “list”.
    She is now entering a public high school.
    Am I understanding correctly that the ME will nevertheless be invalid because it wasn’t written during the 7th-12th grade span ?

    1. I don’t think her ME was good when she entered in Sept 2019 to the 7th grade since I think 7th starts a new grade span. Maybe the private school didnt’ care, but regrettably your understanding is correct. A 2019 ME was good for the grade span the child was at the time it was written and that was a prior grade span, so it’s not valid for her current grade span.

      1. Thank you very much. Not what I wanted to hear but good to know. I have a couple of friends whose children are still in school and would have been the same year and same situation . I just don’t understand how ! It seems homeschooling will be the only option.

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