Immunization Requirements for Child Care 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 child care 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 San Diego Immunization Registry (SDIR).
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In compliance with the California Health and Safety Code Sections 120325-120375, any child attending a private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center (pre-kindergarten facility) in California must be fully immunized before entry. Child care providers and school administrators are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records and submit reports.
Child care 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:
- California Code of Regulations—Reference document about required immunizations for school and child care.
- Shots for School—California School Immunization Law—California Department of Public Health website with information on California school immunization requirements, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other resources.
Under Senate Bills (SB) 276 and SB 714 (Pan, 2019), all new medical exemptions for school and child care 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 your child needs a medical exemption, follow the CAIR-ME Instructions to Request a Medical Exemption. These instructions provide a step-by-step guide for submitting a medical exemption request.
If a child at your child care or school site has been issued a
medical exemption, you can request access to see CAIR-ME
issued medical exemptions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 child care entry
must be issued through the California Immunization Registry
- 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 child care 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 child care are no longer accepted. This bill also addresses
immunization requirements for students who have an individualized
education program (IEP).
For more information about immunization laws and exemptions, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) visit:
Is your school or child care facility participating in the San Diego Immunization Registry (SDIR)? The California Immunization Registry (CAIR) is a centralized and confidential database for storing vaccine records. In San Diego County, vaccine records are entered in the San Diego Immunization Registry (SDIR), which is part of CAIR. 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 SDIR and CAIR or how to participate in the
registry, visit our sdiz.org—SDIR web page.
questions or more information, contact the SDIR Help Desk at:
SDIR.HHSA@sdcounty.ca.gov or (619) 692-5656.
For more information or to request
contact the San Diego Immunization Unit via e-mail or call us at (866) 358-2966.