Immunization protects community health in multiple ways: immunized individuals are protected from disease; if the community is immunized, the target disease is minimized or eradicated; and those who have weak immune systems or cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons are protected in an immunized community. Children are more vulnerable and prone to illness than healthy adults due to their immature immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends young children should be fully immunized against Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox), Haemophilus Influenza Type B, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=hsc&group=120001-121000&file=120325-120380
California School Immunization Law
California Health and Safety Code, Sections 120325-120375
Under these statutes, children in California 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 (pre-kindergarten facilities). Schools, and pre-kindergarten facilities are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and submit reports.
ARV (All Required Vaccines) rates are shown in these indicators. ARV rates of 95% and above are the safest; lower than 95% creates vulnerabilities.
Of the total 333 kindergarteners enrolled in the Tahoe/Truckee Joint Unified School District (TTUSD) in the 2011/12 school year, 66% had records of completion for all required immunizations. This is a reduction from 2006, when 70% were fully immunized. In the same year, 94% of kindergarteners were fully immunized in the California public school system. Children who lack one or more required vaccine doses in a series that are not currently due may be admitted with the requirement that they receive the remaining doses when due (noted as conditional entrants in the table). At TTUSD, XX% percent (98 students) of kindergarteners fall into the population of “conditional entrants. Conditional entrants can include children who did not receive their vaccinations by the recommended age or children who do not have their immunization records available and must begin their vaccinations again. Children with “conditional entrant” status may be vulnerable to infectious diseases while they wait for the next series of shots.
Parents may delay or refuse immunizations for their children due to religious or personal beliefs. Also, some children can't get their shots due to health problems.
By law, students may be denied entry into the school system if immunizations are not up to date. The challenge of ensuring that conditional entrants receive the remaining doses of their vaccinations is currently placed on TTUSD staff. Ideally, 100% of children would be fully immunized prior to entry into the TTUSD school system to protect their health and the health of the Tahoe/Truckee community.