Sonoma County Office of Education

Community Reminder: These Vaccines are Required to Attend School

08/08/2022 -

As the start of the 2022-23 school year approaches, Sonoma County students may have fallen behind on the immunizations that California law requires to attend school.

“It is important that we ensure students return to the safest learning environment possible,” said Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Steven D. Herrington. “We know that the pandemic has disrupted many families’ regular pediatric medical and vaccination routines, but it’s important to make sure we maintain herd immunity from many childhood illnesses, some of which can be quite serious.”

A July report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF found that 25 million infants around the world missed out on lifesaving vaccinations in 2021. These vaccines protect our community against illnesses including measles, polio and hepatitis B. Vaccines against COVID-19 are not required to attend school but are strongly recommended.

California state law requires the following vaccinations for students entering transitional kindergarten or kindergarten, or entering public or private schools for the first time.

Upon admission, students at TK and K-12 schools must have:

  1. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP, DTP, Tdap, or Td), 5 doses (4 doses OK if one was given on or after the 4th birthday, 3 doses OK if one was given on or after 7th birthday. For 7th-12th graders, at least one dose of pertussis-containing vaccine is required on or after the 7th birthday.)
  2. Polio (OPV or IPV) - 4 doses (3 doses OK if one is on or after 4th birthday)
  3. Hepatitis B - 3 doses (not required for 7th grade entry)
  4. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) - 2 doses, both given on or after 1st birthday
  5. Varicella (Chickenpox) - 2 doses

The above requirements also typically apply to new admissions, including students from outside of the state, as well as 7th grade students who previously had a valid personal beliefs exemption filed before 2016. Parents or guardians of students in public or private schools or child care facilities are no longer allowed to submit such exemptions to any currently required vaccines. Students are excluded from enrolling until they have started the vaccination series.

In addition to the above vaccinations, students beginning 7th grade are required to be up-to-date on booster shots for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) and Varicella (chickenpox).

Although the COVID-19 vaccine is not required for the 2022-23 school year, it remains an important tool to limit the spread and severity of the illness. School families are strongly encouraged to make sure their students are up to date on vaccinations for the coming school year.

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