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Vaccine Exemption Laws by State

Today in the United States, no federal vaccination laws exist. However, every state requires that children be vaccinated for certain diseases before entering school. This includes children who attend public schools or state-licensed child care centers, family day care homes, and developmental centers (and some private schools).

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of vaccine exemptions laws. Most states require children age four or older and who are entering kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, or daycare have proof that they have received a booster dose of the following:

  • Polio virus vaccine (IPV)
  • Two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • Three doses of Hepatitis vaccine (HBV)
  • Two doses of Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine
  • A booster dose of Diphtheria, Tetanus (lockjaw), Acellular, and Pertussis vaccine (DtaP)

Exemptions from School Vaccination Requirements

A variety of vaccine exemptions are allowed, depending on state and local regulations. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states to offer only medical exemptions to vaccination, although California and a handful of other states are currently considering legislation to end religious or philosophical exemptions to mandatory vaccinations. In most other states, vaccine religious exemptions, philosophical or personal belief exemptions, and medical exemptions are available.

Religious Exemptions

Forty-seven states allow children to be exempt from vaccinations because of religious concerns, including 18 states that also allow exemptions for “personal reasons.” Each state has varying requirements for a vaccine religious exemption. For instance, Oregon requires parents to obtain a “vaccine education certificate” either from a health care provider or by viewing an online seminar before their child can be exempted.

Personal Belief Exemptions

Twenty states allow exemptions to children whose parents have philosophical or personal belief objections to vaccination. In most cases, parents must file a one-time or annual form with a school district attesting to a personal objection to vaccination.

Medical Exemptions

Every state allows children to be exempted from vaccination requirements for medical reasons. These reasons generally include the following situations:

  • The child’s immune status is compromised by a permanent or temporary condition.
  • The child has a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine component.
  • The child has had a prior serious adverse event related to vaccination.

School Vaccine Requirements amd Exemptions

State

Religious

Philosophical

Medical

Statute

Alabama

X

 

X

Ala. Code § 16-30-3

Alaska

X

 

X

Ak. Stat. §14.30.125

Arizona

X

X

X

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-872, 873

Arkansas

X

X

X

Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-702

California

X

X

X

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 120325 et seq.

Colorado

X

X

X

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-902, 903

Connecticut

X

 

X

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-204a

Delaware

X

 

X

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 131

District of Columbia

X

 

X

D.C. Code Ann. § 38-501, 506

Florida

X

 

X

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.22

Georgia

X

 

X

Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-771

Hawaii

X

 

X

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302A-1154, 1156

Idaho

X

X

X

Idaho Code § 39-4801, 4802

Illinois

X

 

X

105 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/27-8.1

Indiana

X

 

X

Ind. Code Ann. § 21-40-5

Iowa

X

 

X

Iowa Code Ann. § 139A.8

Kansas

X

 

X

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-5209

Kentucky

X

 

X

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 214.034

Louisiana

X

X

X

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:170(A); 40:31.16

Maine

X

X

X

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A § 6355

Maryland

X

 

X

Md. Code Ann. Educ. § 7-403

Massachusetts

X

 

X

Mass. Gen Laws ch.76, § 15

Michigan

X

X

X

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.9208, 9215

Minnesota

 

X* Exemption does not specifically list religion

X

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A-15

Mississippi

 

 

X

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-23-37

Missouri

X

X* Applies only to daycare and preschool

X

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.181, 210.003

Montana

X

 

X

Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-403, 405

Nebraska

X

 

X

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 79-217, 221

Nevada

X

 

X

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.435, 437, 439

New Hampshire

X

 

X

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 141-C:20-a, 20-c

New Jersey

X

 

X

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 26:1A-9, 9.1

New Mexico

X

 

X

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-5-1, 3

New York State

X

 

X

N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 2164

North Carolina

X

 

X

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-155, 156, 157

North Dakota

X

X

X

N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07-17.1

Ohio

X

X

X

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.671

Oklahoma

X

X

X

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 1210.191, 192

Oregon

X

X

X

Or. Rev. Stat. § 433.267

Pennsylvania

X

X

X

28 Pa. Code § 23-83, 84

Rhode Island

X

 

X

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-38-2

South Carolina

X

 

X

S.C. Code Ann. § 44-29-180

South Dakota

X

 

X

S.D. Codified Laws § 13-28-7.1

Tennessee

X

 

X

Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-5001

Texas

X

X

X

Tex. Edu Code Ann. § 38.001

Utah

X

X

X

Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-301, 302

Vermont

X

X

X

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 1121, 1122

Virginia

X

 

X

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-271.2, § 32.1-46

Washington

X

X

X

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.210.080, 90

West Virginia

 

 

X

W. Va. Code § 16-3-4

Wisconsin

X

X

X

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 252.04

Wyoming

X

 

X

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-4-309

While we work hard to keep our articles up to date, state laws are constantly changing. If you have questions about vaccine exemption laws in your state, you should consult with an education lawyer or health care lawyer to learn more.

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