Thanks to the implementation of strict vaccination laws a couple years back, kindergartners in California are being immunized at a higher rate than they have in years. But a recent Los Angeles Times article highlights that some schools, particularly those in Northern California, have experienced a backlash from anti-vaxxers who’ve sought out doctors willing to issue them medical exemptions so they can forego vaccinating their kids. 

Since SB-277 went into effect in 2016, the vaccination rate for kindergartners has jumped from 93 percent to 95 percent, an increase that has led experts to label the legislation a success. 

But there have been pockets of resistance. Public health officials have pointed out that the number of children who’ve obtained doctor-approved vaccine exemptions has quadrupled in the last two years. From the LA Times:

“[D]octors say that preventing outbreaks requires high vaccination rates not just statewide, but also in each neighborhood or school. Otherwise, diseases can spread in pockets with low immunity.

But at 785 of the roughly 6,500 elementary schools in the state, 90% or fewer kindergartners had all of their required shots. Some of those students were planning to get their shots later in the school year and they hadn’t come due yet. But many had notes from their doctors saying they shouldn’t be vaccinated for the rest of their childhood.

Doctors say that at most, 3% of people could have a medical reason for not tolerating vaccines, such as a gelatin allergy or because they’re undergoing chemotherapy. But at 20 schools, more than a quarter of students had a medical exemption, according to state data.”

The Times goes on to list the California kindergartens with the highest exemption rates. All of them are located in Northern California and one of them, Coastal Grove Charter School, is right here in Humboldt. Here’s the full list:

  • 58 percent: Sebastopol Independent Charter - Sonoma County
  • 52 percent: Yuba River Charter - Nevada County 
  • 51 percent: Sunridge Charter - Sonoma County 
  • 43 percent: Live Oak Charter - Sonoma County
  • 38 percent: Berkeley Rose School - Alameda County
  • 38 percent: The New Village School - Marin County
  • 37 percent: Coastal Grove Charter - Humboldt County
  • 37 percent: The Waldorf School of Mendocino County - Mendocino County
  • 35 percent: Summerfield Waldorf School & Farm - Sonoma County
  • 33 percent: Santa Cruz Waldorf School - Santa Cruz County

Read more at the LA Times.