Immunization Requirements for Childcare/Preschool and TK/K-12 Schools

Vaccines are safe and effective and help provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Children attending public or private childcare/preschool facilities and schools in California are required to have certain vaccines. Visit the links below to learn about vaccine requirements for children, staff, and volunteers in child care and TK/K-12 school settings, as well as information on this page about immunization laws, exemptions and the California Immunization Registry (CAIR2). 

Find Information and Resources For:

 California Childcare/Preschool and School Immunization Laws

In compliance with the California Health and Safety Code Sections 120325-120375, any child attending a private or public elementary or secondary school, childcare/preschool facility, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center in California must be fully immunized before entry. Childcare/preschool providers and school administrators are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records and submit reports.

Childcare/preschool facilities, school districts, and other educational institutions have the authority to require stricter immunization requirements. Parents and guardians should contact their child's school for specific guidance.

For more information about California school immunization requirements: 

Childcare/Preschool and School Immunization Exemptions

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Medical Exemptions

Under Senate Bills (SB) 276 and SB 714 (Pan, 2019), all new medical exemptions for school and childcare/preschool entry must be issued through CAIR-ME beginning January 1, 2021. Medical exemptions can only be issued by MDs or DOs licensed in California and must meet applicable Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) criteria.

  • If a child at your childcare/preschool or school site has been issued a medical exemption, you can request access to see CAIR-ME issued medical exemptions by e-mailing  medicalexemptions@cdph.ca.gov.
  • MDs and DOs can register to issue and manage medical exemptions through the CAIR-ME website.


For more information about medical exemptions, please see the following Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 276 (SB 276)—As of January 1, 2021, all new medical exemptions for school and childcare/preschool entry must be issued through the California Immunization Registry (CAIR).

  • Senate Bill 714 (SB 714)—A child who has a medical exemption issued before January 1, 2020, is allowed to continue enrollment until they start the next grade span (birth to preschool, inclusive; TK/K and 1st-6th grade inclusive; and 7th-12th grades inclusive).

 

Personal Belief Exemptions

Although children were able to receive immunization exemptions in the past based on personal beliefs, parents or guardians of students in any school or childcare/preschool facility, whether public or private, are no longer allowed to submit a personal belief exemption to a currently required vaccine. If your child previously qualified for a personal belief exemption and needs to get caught up on vaccines, see the Vaccine Catch-Up for Schools Handout (For Children Age 7+).

For more information about personal belief exemptions, please see the following Senate Bill:

  • Senate Bill (SB 277)—As of January 1, 2016, personal belief exemptions to immunization requirements for school and childcare/preschool are no longer accepted. This bill also addresses immunization requirements for students who have an individualized education program (IEP).
Immunizations for School

For more information about immunization laws and exemptions, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) visit:

California Immunization Registry (CAIR) Hub

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The California Immunization Registry (CAIR) Hub is a website with centralized applications related to statewide immunization reporting and information for school and child care sites.

To learn more about CAIR Hub, visit the CAIR Hub webpage
 

 School and Child Care Roster Lookup (SCRL) 

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The School and Child Care Roster Lookup (SCRL)  is a tool that can determine whether or not a student meets all immunization requirements to enter school or child care. SCRL (we like to call it squirrel) looks at immunization data in the California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) and uses the pre-K or K–12 immunization requirements to determine which students are up to date and can be admitted and which students are overdue (and for which shots). In other words, SCRL is a tool that makes immunization record checking of children easy for childcare/preschool facilities and schools.

To learn more about SCRL, visit the SCRL webpage
 

California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) San Diego

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Is your childcare/preschool facility or school participating in the California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) San Diego? The California Immunization Registry (CAIR) is a centralized and confidential database for storing vaccine records. The Registry provides an electronic record of all immunizations given to an individual by participating providers.

This system allows healthcare providers to document vaccines provided and to see patient immunization records, including vaccines received at other locations or from other healthcare providers. The Registry decreases the possibility of duplication of immunizations and identifies immunizations that are needed. 

To learn more about CAIR2 or how to participate in the registry, visit our CAIR2 webpage. 
 

For questions or more information, contact the CAIR Help Desk at:
CAIRHelpdesk@cdph.ca.gov or (800) 578-7889.

Contact the San Diego Immunization Unit via e-mail or call (866) 358-2966.
To request materials, please go to the Immunization Materials page.

Contact the Epidemiology School Response Team via e-mail or call (619) 692-8636.
To request materials, please go to the Educational Materials page.