145 Sacramento area students were sent home from school this week after they showed up for kindergarten and seventh grade without proof of vaccination.
District spokesman Daniel Thingpen said 145 students out of about 3,200 starting kindergarten and seventh grade were sent home Tuesday from the Folsom Cordova Unified School District on the first day of school for lack of immunization records. This was a direct result of a new law, one of the toughest mandatory vaccination law in the US, which took effect on July 1st. The law requires all children who enter kindergarten and seventh grade in California to be vaccinated against measles and other diseases unless a physician approves a medical exemption. The law eliminated personal and religious-belief exemptions for vaccinations.
According to the Sacramento Bee, which broke the story:
By the start of school, the district had identified 157 students who were unvaccinated out of 1,462 kindergarteners and seventh-graders, he said. On that day, 103 unvaccinated students arrived at school, Sanders said. He said their parents either returned that day with the proper paperwork or took their children to one of the district’s two clinics – a stationary clinic at Natomas High School or a mobile clinic at a middle school. Since then, Sanders said, the district has been working to reach the 54 students to see if they need help.
According to the California Department of Public Health, immunizations have been required in California schools since 1962. However, a measles outbreak in California, which began in 2014 and continued to spread in 2015, prompted lawmakers to act. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the vaccine bill into law last summer making California the third state in the nation that eliminated religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccination requirements. Before the law was passed, there were about 1,000 medical exemptions and more than 17,000 philosophical exemptions in California during the 2013-2014 school year.
Richard Pan, a Democratic state senator from Sacramento, who wrote the law responded to the possibility of legal challenges to the law. He said:
“The courts have been very clear that you don’t have a right to spread a communicable disease, that there’s a public interest in keeping our communities safe from disease.”
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