Every health care professional understands the power and purpose of vaccinations. Since the world has started orchestrating large-scale vaccinations, we have nearly eradicated several diseases that used to plague our societies. That’s why California recently passed two new laws that limit vaccine exemptions for schoolchildren.
As CNN reported, the new laws will add more structure to the exemption process. Doctors will need to fill out standardized forms, and the state will review doctors who issue five or more exemptions per year. And those who issue 1,000 or more exemptions? They will likely need to defend their licenses before the Medical Board of California.
The sudden rise of medical vaccination exemptions
When California banned “personal belief” vaccination exemptions in 2016, the number of medical exemptions skyrocketed. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the state saw its medical exemption rate increase more than five times since the 2014-15 school year.
Here’s a quick look at the number of medical vaccination exemptions granted for the past five school years:
- 2014-15 = 97
- 2015-16 = 108
- 2016-17 = 404
- 2017-18 = 576
- 2018-19 = 599
As the frequency of medical exemptions has risen, so has the number of complaints made to the Medical Board:
- 2015 = 1
- 2016 = 12
- 2017 = 44
- 2018 = 36
- 2019 = 99
These complaints are being fueled largely by a few bad actors. One doctor, on her own, granted 1,000 medical exemptions since the state banned personal belief exemptions. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that any one doctor would find 1,000 valid medically necessary vaccine exemptions, and she has now put her license at risk.
However, it’s not only her license she’s put at risk. By drawing increased scrutiny upon the state’s medical vaccination exemptions, she may inadvertently be calling attention to other doctors. The San Diego Union-Tribune noted that the other doctors facing medical board accusations were cited for far fewer questionable exemptions. And CNN noted that the state plans to review any school with a vaccination rate below 95%. Suddenly, the margin of error for good documentation has evaporated.
What can you do?
First, make sure you follow the law and all the correct procedures for any medical vaccination exemptions you provide. The truth is there are times medical exemptions are appropriate—even necessary—and you need to make sure you document them correctly.
Still, it’s possible that exemptions granted before the changes may lead to complaints filed after the changes. In the event you find yourself before the Medical Board of California, you want to make sure you understand the investigation process, your defense and your rights.