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|5/31/2011 4:20:37 PM|
Home School Legal Defense Association
California: NEW Immunization Documentation Requirement--Your Action Needed!
From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
From: Roy Hanson's Private & Home Educators of California and HSLDA
Tdap Booster Immunization for Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
NEW Required Documentation for All Students
Some changes in the law go into effect this July 1, 2011 that all
homeschooling parents and PSP directors will need to act on. These
(1) An additional Tdap immunization booster shot against whooping
cough has been added to the list of immunizations required, unless
exempted, for all students in 7th through 12th grades (including those
who are being homeschooled under the private school option.)
(2) There has been a change in documentation required for a student's
records kept by their school of enrollment if a student receives this
(3) There is a change in documentation required for a student's
records if the student does not receive this immunization, either
because the parents choose to have their child exempted with the
Personal Beliefs Exemption, or if the student has received a medical
exemption letter from a physician.
AB 354 was signed into law in September 2010. It requires that all
students be vaccinated against whooping cough with the Tdap booster on
or after their 7th birthday as a condition for being admitted or
advanced to the 7th through the 12th grade beginning this July 1,
2011. All references to the term "student" in this article refer only
to students being admitted or advanced to the 7th through the 12th
Every public and private school in California, including those based
in the home, continues to be required to maintain an up-to-date copy
of a California School Immunization Record (form PM 286B-- aka "Blue
Card") as a part of each student's permanent school record (i.e.,
cumulative file-- see Sections 49062 & 49068 of the Education Code).
The PM 286B form is available from your local county health department
or you can download it for printing at
To implement AB 354, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
has created two new forms, which are to be used to document either
that the student has been immunized against whooping cough with a Tdap
booster (i.e., tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) or that the student is
exempted from this required Tdap immunization. There are two possible
exemptions from this new requirement: (1) the parent has completed a
"Personal Beliefs Exemption" form CDPH 8261 (1/11) for the student, or
(2) a medical exemption letter for the student has been received and
is signed by a physician.
Beginning with the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, which technically
starts on July 1, 2011 for public schools, every student must have
received the Tdap booster and have that immunization documented in
their school's student records (as described below). Additionally,
proof of immunization provided by the physician's or health clinic's
immunization record must be kept on file in the student's permanent
school record (cumulative file), unless exempted. If a student has
not received the Tdap immunization, that student must have either the
personal beliefs exemption or the medical exemption documented and on
file in their school's student records, as described below. The
exemption forms and documentation are not to be mailed or delivered by
the school administrator to any entity but are to be filed in the
student's records kept by the school of enrollment.
For subsequent school years, every student who is being advanced into
the 7th grade is subject to the same requirements described above.
Students who move into California and will be in any grade from the
7th through the 12th grade will also have to conform to these
The current "PM 286B form (1/02)" does not have a space to document
the Tdap immunization. In order to document the compliance status of
the student to the Tdap booster requirement on the PM 286B, the
California Department of Public Health has created a sticker, form PM
286 S, which is to be completed and placed on the upper left corner of
the front of the existing PM 286B "Blue Card", which should already be
in the student's file. The PM 286B form documents compliance with
current immunization requirements for all students in public and
private schools (in any grades K-12). On the new sticker, you will
fill in information, including documenting either the immunization, or
the Personal Beliefs Exemption, or the medical exemption. The
Department has also created a separate "Personal Beliefs Exemption"
form, CDPH 8261, which has the same function as the "Personal Beliefs
Affidavit" on the back of the current PM 286B ("Blue Card"), but is
limited to the Tdap immunization. These new forms are necessary
because the current PM 286B form does not list the new Tdap booster
immunization requirement. To see samples of these items, see "Sample
Forms" at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11393
Every parent with a child entering the 7th to the 12th grade will need
to make a decision for his or her child to receive or not to receive
this Tdap immunization booster.
The sticker(s), form PM 286 S, and the "Personal Beliefs Exemption
Form(s)", CDPH 8261 (1/11), if applicable, must be requested from your
local county health department. Only school administrators may
request these items. The State Department of Public Health will not
make these available online or by request. The California Department
of Public Health has stated, "Schools should not try to produce their
own versions of these forms or use other forms."
If your private school was established by you and composed of your
family members, and you have at least one child who is entering any
grade from 7th through the 12th, you will need to call your local
county health department to request enough of the stickers (form PM
286 S) for all your children (students) in these grade levels.
Additionally, if you do not want your children vaccinated with the
Tdap booster, also request copies of the Personal Beliefs Exemption
form, CDPH 8261 for each affected child. When you call, call as the
administrator of your private school, not as a parent.
PSP (private school satellite program) administrators need to notify
the parents in their program of the new requirement and exemption
options, and find out how many Personal Beliefs Exemption forms are
needed for each family. Administrators should request enough copies
of the Tdap immunization stickers (form PM 286 S) for each student in
their program required to receive the Tdap under this new law. PSP
administrators should also request enough Personal Beliefs Exemption
forms for parents who choose to not have their children receive this
For those students enrolled in PSPs, it will be the school's PSP
administrator and not the parent who is responsible for getting the
stickers and exemption forms and having the documentation up-to-date
and filed for every student enrolled in their program. While not
required by the state, it would be a good idea for parents to also
have a copy of each of their children's immunization records in case
needed when seeking medical attention in certain situations.
Your county health department's phone number will be in the county
section of your phone book. Or, you can also find a listing of county
health department phone numbers via a link on our website at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11395 . When calling, tell them you
are a private school administrator from (name of your school) and
you need forms and stickers for complying with the new Tdap
They should forward you on to the person in their immunization
department that handles the stickers and exemption forms. In most
cases there will only be one person in each county equipped to send
these new sticker forms and Personal Beliefs Exemption forms to you.
That person will need to know the name of your school and how many
students you have between 7th and 12th grade. You will need enough
stickers for every child required to receive the Tdap under this new
law. In addition, be sure to specify the number of Personal Beliefs
Exemption forms you need. They will not automatically send out the
same number of Personal Beliefs Exemption forms as stickers for your
"Blue Card." Directions for completing these forms should be sent to
you when they send the forms.
Important Note: As of May 2011, the state is out of stickers for the
Blue Cards, so you may not be able to obtain them from your county as
soon as you request them. The state is scrambling to get more made,
which includes a bidding process for the printing and a bureaucratic
system to go through in order to finally reach county administrators.
Your county's health department should inform you when you call if
they are out of the stickers and hopefully when they might have them
If the forms are not available from your county's health department,
you as the school administrator will want to keep in touch with your
county health department until the forms you need can be sent to you.
Once properly completed, the applicable documentation is required to
be kept in each student's permanent school record (cumulative file) as
mentioned above. The appropriate forms should be on file for each
student in your school by the time your school starts for the
2011-2012 school year. For many homeschoolers, that would be some
time around this coming August or September.
We recommend that the county health department be your only source for
either the Tdap sticker PM 286 S or the Personal Beliefs Exemption
form CDPH 8261 (1/11). They are not available online as of May 2011,
and we have been told that they do not plan putting them online. You
should not try to produce your own version of these forms or use other
forms. As mentioned above, the California Department of Public Health
has stated, "Schools should not try to produce their own versions of
these forms or use other forms."
NOTE: We DO NOT recommend signing up with an immunization registry
program such as CAIR, which would result in children's private
information being entered into a bureaucratic database vulnerable to
If there should be any changes in these forms, such as for subsequent
school years, or any other news regarding the Tdap or any other
immunizations, we will update this information.
For further information on this new Tdap requirement, go the
California Department of Public Health's "Frequently Asked Tdap
Requirement Questions for: Schools and Providers" at
For information to help you make the important decision whether to
have your 7th to 12th grade children vaccinated with the Tdap booster,
we suggest that you look at the page, "To Vaccinate or Not to
Vaccinate" on our website at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11396
Step-by-step instructions for New Tdap documentation requirements:
Note to Single family private homeschool: You are responsible to
obtain and keep immunization documentation for each student in your
home school. For students entering grades 7th-12th you are
responsible for each of the three steps listed below prior to the
beginning of school this fall.
Note to PSP Administrators: You are responsible for:
a. notifying the parents of students entering grades 7th-12th in your
school of the new immunization requirement and the two options for
b. obtaining and keeping immunization documentation for each student
in your PSP.
c. each of the three steps listed below prior to enrollment this fall.
Three Steps--What you need to do:
Every Student entering 7th-12th must get the Tdap booster or be
exempted. If the student is being vaccinated: document, in the
cumulative file of the student, a copy of the immunization record from
a doctor or health clinic stating the booster has been administered
specifying that the Tdap booster was given and the date.
If the student is being exempted: the parents must fill out form CDPH
8261 (Personal Beliefs Exemption) OR provide a letter from their
doctor documenting a medical exemption.
Call (see list of phone numbers)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11396 your county department of
health to request two forms: Tdap stickers (form PM 286 S), which
every student between 7th and 12th grade is required to have, and
exemption forms (CDPH 8261) for those students whose parents do not
want them to receive the booster shot. These forms are not available
online. Identify yourself as an administrator of a private school,
NOT as a homeschool and NOT as a parent. Tell them the number of
students you have between 7th and 12th grade and request the form PM
286 S (Tdap sticker) for each of them. For those families choosing to
exempt their child from the Tdap immunization, also request form CDPH
8261 (Personal Beliefs Exemption form) for each student to be
Keep a file of the forms. EVERY student's file, grades 7th-12th, must
have the Tdap sticker (PM 286 S) affixed to the student's California
School Immunization Record PM 286B (aka "Blue Card"). The proof of
immunization or signed exemption documentation MUST be filed with the
student's "Blue Card".
The PM 286B (aka "Blue Card") is available for download at:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11397 . Images of these forms and a
sample medical exemption letter can be found on our website:
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