School immunizations go up after law takes effect - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

School immunizations go up after law takes effect

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – As the new school year approaches, the number of California students being vaccinated is slightly up from last year - a year after a law requiring students to be vaccinated took effect.

The county child medical health officer believes parents are learning more about the benefits of immunizations, but opponents said parents are being forced to choose their child’s education over their health and it’s wrong.

“What we are excited about is the increase in the number of kids who are fully vaccinated and protected against these diseases,” said Dr. Dean Slidelinger, San Diego County Child Health Medical Officer.

Parents like Rebecca Estepp from Poway, whose children no longer fall under the required immunizations for kindergarten and seventh grade to enter public or private schools, is not excited.

Estepp lobbied against SB-277, in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak. She filed a lawsuit, but a judge later ruled against it.

“The law is unfair, unjust and straight out coercion,” she said.

Opponents believe vaccinations lead to autism and other disabilities. Under the new state law, personal belief exemptions were abolished; however, students with a permanent medical exemption are exempt – and those permanent medical exemptions are increasing.

San Diego County’s child medical health officer said in San Diego County, immunizations are up .3%, compared to the previous school year. Medical exemptions are up .6%, or 244 more students have doctor’s exemption.

While opponents threatened home schooling, the county said school enrollment has not dropped and they believe it is better education.

“We know that vaccines are safe. We know they work and so we think that parents are heading that message,” said Dr. Slidelinger.

Parents like Estepp said they believe “vaccination is a personal choice and parents should do research.”

The data shows the number of medical exemptions in the county is slightly above the state average.

The medical exemption applies to special education students, home school and independent study, which includes online public charter schools.

2016-2017 7th Grade Immunization Assessment – Executive Summary California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch

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