State of California School Immunization Law outlines the immunizations required for children to attend school and child care. The state's school and child care immunization requirements are not as comprehensive as the recommended vaccination schedules from the U.S. federal government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please encourage parents to make sure their children receive all of the CDC-recommended vaccines, in addition to the ones required for California school and child care entry.
- Appendix C Requirements of the CA School Immunization Law
- California Immunization Requirements for School Entry: Grades K-12 quick summary of requirements
- California Immunization Handbook with detailed procedures
- How is my school doing? Find reporting at California Department of Public Health Shots for School
The following steps should be taken to make sure children have all the required vaccines:
- Obtain the child’s personal immunization record
Time of registration is the best time to view records in case a child needs vaccines. Children who are not up-to-date can register, but cannot attend school or childcare until they have received the required vaccines.
- Review the child’s personal immunization record
Preferred personal immunization records include: California Immunization Records (the Yellow Card), Out-of-State records, military records, International records, and California School Immunization Records (Blue Cards) from another school or childcare center. Records must include the name of the vaccine and the date it was given. Encourage parents to have a Yellow Card and to have it filled out completely.
- Complete the California School Immunization Record (Blue Card)
Enter the date each vaccine was given onto the Blue Card. If the child had chickenpox disease they do not need the Varicella vaccine. The Yellow Card must be marked “Had disease” and signed or stamped by the provider, then write “Had disease” across the date boxes next to Varicella on the Blue Card.
- Assess the child’s immunization status
Children who have all the required vaccines or the state-granted exemptions may attend school/childcare. Children who are not up-to-date must be excluded from school/childcare; give the parent a Notice of Immunizations Needed to take to their provider. Allow children to attend school and childcare after they show proof they have received the necessary vaccines. "No Shots, No Records, No School".
- File the Blue Card in the child’s cumulative file
The Blue Card is considered part of the permanent school/childcare record. Also if the school gets selected as part of the Selective Review immunization Blue card needs to be in file. Schools and childcare centers with a State-approved electronic system for storing immunization records do not have to keep hard copies on file. Hard copies are necessary for children with Medical and Personal Beliefs Exemptions and when a child transfers out of district.
- Follow up with conditional entrants monthly
Conditional entrants are students who were admitted into school/child care, but need more vaccines before the school year is over. These are children who are in the middle of a series of shots or who have a temporary medical exemption. Be sure to alert parents when more vaccines are due. The student has 10 days after receiving a written notice to show proof the vaccine was given. The California Immunization Handbook suggests follow-up methods.
- Complete the Annual Report
Each fall the California Department of Health Services collects immunization coverage reports from all schools with kindergartens and all child care centers. The Selective Review occurs every spring; schools and childcare centers are chosen at random by the State. Schools that are chosen for the Selective Review will be notified in advance.
If you have questions about reviewing immunization records, the Annual Report, or the Selective Review, please contact:
County of Santa Clara Immunization Education Program
976 Lenzen Ave., Suite 1100
San Jose, CA 95126
Telephone: (408) 792-5007
Fax: (408) 947-8752
- More from the Immunization Program
- News for School Nurses and Popular Resources
- Public Health Department Trainings and Events
- Shots for School - How Many Students in Your School Have Required Shots?
- Travel Vaccines for Kids
- Free HIV Testing and $5 STD Testing for Youth Age 12 and Up
- Child Care Providers Toolkit
- About Senate Bill 277 (SB 277)
- About Senate Bill 792 (SB 792)