School Vaccine Exemptions Under SB277

November 2018
by Greg Glaser, Attorney at Law

I help moms & dads & doctors understand and protect their rights under the new California vaccine law, SB277.  I work pro bono.

SB277 is a terrible law that needs to be repealed immediately.   Does government really have the authority to require that your child be injected with a drug in order to receive an education?   The answer is no.  But I am a constitutional lawyer, so perhaps I do not understand the constitution as well as the pharmaceutical industry.

But I digress.  SB277 is the enacted law, so as a lawyer I do have to deal with it.  Therefore, here is what you need to know as a parent to protect your family:

The Basics

First, SB277 applies to public & private schools from daycare through grade 12.

Second, under SB277, medical exemptions are always valid.  A medical exemption signed by a licensed physician does not need to be on file by December 31, 2015.  You can put it on file anytime.  A medical exemption does not expire upon reaching a checkpoint year.  It only expires if and when the doctor says it expires in his or her medical judgment.

Third, under SB277 religious and personal beliefs exemptions are only allowed for students who had a religious or personal beliefs exemption sent to (or filed with) any CA school by December 31, 2015. But even then, upon reaching a check-point year (Kindergarten & 7th Grade), the religious and personal beliefs exemptions are no longer valid, except… medical exemptions are ALWAYS valid.


Q: Is it difficult to qualify for a medical exemption in CA?

A: It depends on the circumstances. There is growing awareness among physicians, especially “integrative physicians”, that vaccines are not safe for everyone. For example, there is certain information you can provide your doctor and certain tests and indicators that a doctor can look for during a consultation to determine if your family members are at a higher risk of complication with vaccination, such as allergies, a history of autoimmune disease, and previous vaccine reactions in the family.  Different doctors will naturally come to different opinions, so it naturally makes sense to choose your doctor carefully.  Choosing an “integrative physician” is likely the smartest choice, because they tend to be the most aware, most informed, and most-conscious of vaccine risks.

Q:  Does the doctor who writes the medical exemption need to be my child’s primary care physician?

A: No, you can separately hire a physician (M.D. or D.O.) o to evaluate your child regarding risks of vaccination, and to write a medical exemption letter.  This is called ‘getting a second opinion’ or ‘seeking complementary medical care’.   You can do it right now – type a google search for a ‘holistic M.D.’ or ‘integrative physician’ in your area.   Skip the search results that point you to hospital doctors; rather, just look for M.D.s and D.O.s who work in clinics and who demonstrate on their websites that they are holistically-minded.  Make an appointment for your child to see the holistically-minded physician.  At the appointment, be prepared to pay the clinic out-of-pocket if necessary (a doctor’s appointment only costs approximately $200).  Be prepared to speak with the doctor intelligently about your family’s history of specific factors that support a medical exemption. Tell the doctor why a medical exemption is important to you.  As they say, ‘talk to your doctor’.

Remember: your child’s medical exemption is a private and confidential medical record, so when you request & receive it from your doctor, please don’t broadcast it on Facebook etc.   Moreover, you need to tell your holistically-minded doctor that you understand that it’s a private and confidential medical record, and that you will not discuss it on social media.  You should only share the private record with the child’s school for purposes of compliance with SB277.  It is your choice whether to share the letter with your child’s primary care physician.  You are not required to do so.

Q: Who can write a medical exemption in CA?

A:  For SB277 purposes, only a licensed physician can write a medical exemption, which means only an M.D. or a D.O. can write one.  A naturopathic doctor (N.D.) cannot write a medical exemption.  Nor can a chiropractor write a medical exemption.

Q: What is the legal standard for a medical exemption in CA?

A:  The statute reads, “120370.  (a) If the parent or guardian files with the governing authority a written statement by a licensed physician to the effect that the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances, including, but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization, that child shall be exempt from the requirements of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 120325, but excluding Section 120380) and Sections 120400, 120405, 120410, and 120415 to the extent indicated by the physician’s statement.”

Q: What is the interpretation of that legal standard for a medical exemption in CA?

A:  No one knows for sure.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and California Academy of Family Physicians recently issued an optional form (click here to view) for doctors that is deferential to the doctor’s judgment.  Indeed, that is precisely what is known about the new section 120370 (in SB277) — it is more deferential to the physician than the old section 120370.  For example, the old section 120370 used the phrase “contraindicate immunization”, and did not have the phrase, “including, but not limited to, family medical history”.  So the new 120370 should be interpreted favorably for both a doctor’s judgment and a patient’s rights, because it puts the focus on what “the physician does not recommend” rather than on specific ‘contraindications’.  This trusts the physician’s overall judgment and assessment rather than contraindications admitted by the vaccine manufacturer.  Moreover, the new law leaves expressly open to the doctor’s judgment what suffices as a patient’s qualifying “medical condition or circumstances”.

Q: Where can I read SB277?

A: Click here.  SB277 amended the California Health & Safety Code Sections 120325, 120335, 120370, and 120375, and added Section 120338, and repealed Section 120365.

Q: Will a child’s religious/personal beliefs exemption transfer from school-to-school when he/she changes schools?

A: Yes, schools are required to accept exemptions on file at other schools. But a school transfer does not trump a check-point year.

Q: Are schools required to accept a valid religious/personal beliefs exemption in 2016 and future years?

A: Only if it was submitted or on file at the child’s current or previous school since December 31, 2015.  And again, the check point year trumps the personal belief exemption.

Q: Are vaccines good for everyone?

A:  Vaccines are literally “drugs”. I am not a doctor. But I think vaccines should only be for people who desire to inject themselves with drugs.  I agree with the doctors who say that clean living & natural immunity & wholesome food & traditional care is good for us. Ultimately, the reason that people hand over their children to the injections of the pharmaceutical industry is because of fear. Is that fear warranted? I don’t think so.  I think we should strive toward developing natural immunity and intelligent natural remedies.

Q: Do vaccine exemptions harm the public?

A:  I don’t think so. Countless public health scholars, historians, and legal scholars have shown that forcefully medicating the public does not serve the public interest, but rather creates distrust and fear of both doctors and hospitals.  Today, approximately 80-90% of parents choose to vaccinate their children (some vaccines have a higher rate than others). The pharmaceutical industry is dominating the populace.

It seems to me there are thousands (even millions) of infectious deadly diseases on earth, and vaccines do not save me or the world from them. As for the approximately ten infectious diseases (many of which are quite mild) that were conveniently dubbed ‘vaccine-preventable’, there are nationally collected statistics that rebut the pharmaceutical claim that vaccines are the touted ‘saviors of the world’:

Q: Should it be a crime to be natural?

A: Absolutely not! Eventually, history will judge the pharmaceutical industry and its drug pushers very harshly for trying to force their super-sized-fits-all approach on the public. But in the meantime, the general public lines up to inject children with vaccine cocktails containing shocking ingredients that traditional doctors and families would never have dreamed of injecting into a human being; injections that bypass normal immune channels (i.e., respiratory, digestive).

Q: Do homeschoolers need a medical exemption under SB277?

A: Fortunately, homeschoolers do not need a medical exemption.  Unfortunately, debt and social norms make this option challenging or unavailable for most people.  Sometimes the toughest choices that life presents us are the ones closest to home.

Greg Glaser, Attorney at Law
(925) 642-6651


Published by

Greg Glaser

Attorney (925) 642-6651

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