Immunization Information for Schools and Child Care
When groups of children come together, the opportunity for disease to spread is increased. School and childcare staff play an important role in assuring safe and healthy futures for California youth by ensuring that children in attendance are as fully immunized as possible.
Under the California School Immunization Law (California Health and Safety Code, Sections 120325-120375), children are required to receive certain immunizations in order to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools, child care centers, family day care homes, nursery schools, day nurseries and developmental centers. This law also requires schools, child care centers, and family child care homes to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and submit reports to the local health department.
California school immunization regulations are described in Title 17 Division 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter 8.
Immunization Requirements for Child Care and School (K-12)
To enter into public and private elementary and secondary schools, children under age 18 years must have immunizations or a medical exemption. For information about the required number of doses and ages that vaccines must be given, review the Guide to Immunizations Required for School Entry and Guide to Immununizations Required for Child Care.
The Shots for School website has information about the immunizations required for school and child care entry in California. This website is maintained by the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch, and includes several tools to assist schools with the education, implementation, and administration of immunization requirements. On this website, school staff can find answers to frequently asked questions about immunizations and reporting requirements.
The State provides annual reports of Immunization Rates at Child Cares and Schools if you are interested in finding the immunization level at a specific school.
Parents must present their child’s Immunization Record to school and child care providers as proof of immunization. Child care and school staff should copy the full date of each shot onto the Blue California School Immunization Record Card and then determine if the child is up-to-date. Order free copies of the Blue Card from the SFDPH Immunization Program. It is the responsibility of school and child care providers to follow up regularly until all shots have been completed and each child is up-to-date.
Beginning on January 1, 2016, Senate Bill 277 (SB277) will no longer permit immunization exemptions based on personal beliefs for children in child care and public and private schools. Personal belief exemptions submitted before January 1, 2016 will remain valid until a pupil reaches kindergarten or 7th grade. Frequently Asked Questions about SB277 are available at the Shots for Schools website.
Conditional Entry Decision Tool
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has created the Conditional Entry Decision Tool, a step-by-step process for K-12 school staff to determine if a child has (a) met all immunization criteria; or (b) is partially immunized but qualifies for conditional entry; or (c) is not eligible to attend without further immunization.
Order free blue cards and other immunization materials here.
San Francisco Immunization Programs for Children
Tuberculosis Screening Requirements for San Francisco Schools
Guidelines for tuberculosis screening requirements in California are determined by each County. The San Francisco Department of Public Health strongly recommends a medical provider's risk assessment for TB infection, as the universal screening requirement for school entry. For more information, review the San Francisco Policy for Tuberculosis Screening Requirement at Preschool and K-12 School Entry.