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In re S.P. (California Court of Appeals, 2nd Appellate District, District 6, August 6, 2020) – A California appellate court ruled that a juvenile court has authority to order vaccinations. After confirming that earlier medical exemptions from immunization were invalid, the Court authorized the vaccination of 2 dependent children. California’s Health and Safety Code provides that a state public health officer (SPHO) or a doctor designated by a SPHO “may revoke the medical exemption” previously issued. The Court reasoned that the statute should be read in light of the legislative purpose of preventing the adverse public health consequences of doctors issuing improper exemptions, as divesting the court of this authority would be inapposite. Further, the juvenile court had valid reasons to reject the physician’s recommendations because his court letters did not state the medical reason for exemption, he was neither a pediatrician nor one of the children’s current treating doctors, and his view that vaccines are unsafe was rejected by the courts. Read the full opinion here.  

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – October 15, 2020.

View all cases under “Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers.”