School Vaccine Exemption Laws by State

While there are no federal vaccination laws, 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 also have some form of vaccination exemption laws. Most states require children age four or older and who are entering kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, or daycare to 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. Most other states allow vaccine exemptions for religious, philosophical, or personal beliefs, in addition to medical exemptions.

Religious Exemptions

Most states have religious exemptions, with varying requirements. 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 may be exempted.

Personal Belief Exemptions

Roughly half of all 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 Vaccination Requirements and Exemptions by State

 

Religious

Philosophical

Medical

Statute

Alabama

X

 

X

Ala. Code Section 16-30-3

Alaska

X

 

X

Ak. Stat. Section 14.30.125

Arizona

X

X

X

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 15-873

Arkansas

X

X

X

Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-702

California

X

X

X

Cal. Health & Safety Code Section 120325 et seq.

Colorado

X

X

X

Colo. Rev. Stat. Section 25-4-903

Connecticut

X

 

X

Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 10-204a

Delaware

X

 

X

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 Section 131

District of Columbia

X

 

X

D.C. Code Ann. Section 38-506

Florida

X

 

X

Fla. Stat. Ann. Section 1003.22

Georgia

X

 

X

Ga. Code Ann. Section 20-2-771

Hawaii

X

 

X

Haw. Rev. Stat. Section 302A-1156

Idaho

X

X

X

Idaho Code Section 39-4802

Illinois

X

 

X

105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Section 5/27-8.1

Indiana

X

 

X

Ind. Code Ann. Section 21-40-5, et seq.

Iowa

X

 

X

Iowa Code Ann. Section 139A.8

Kansas

X

 

X

Kan. Stat. Ann. Section 72-5209

Kentucky

X

 

X

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 214.034

Louisiana

X

X

X

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 17:170(A)

Maine

X

X

X

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A Section 6354

Maryland

X

 

X

Md. Code Ann. Educ. Section 7-403

Massachusetts

X

 

X

Mass. Gen Laws ch.76, Section 15

Michigan

X

X

X

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. Section 333.9208, et seq.

Minnesota

 

X* Exemption does not specifically list religion

X

Minn. Stat. Ann. Section 121A-15

Mississippi

 

 

X

Miss. Code Ann. Section 41-23-37

Missouri

X

X* Applies only to daycare and preschool

X

Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 167.181

Montana

X

 

X

Mont. Code Ann. Section 20-5-403, et seq.

Nebraska

X

 

X

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 79-217, et seq.

Nevada

X

 

X

Nev. Rev. Stat. Section 392.435, et seq.

New Hampshire

X

 

X

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

New Jersey

X

 

X

N.J. Stat. Ann. Section 26:1A-9, 9.1

New Mexico

X

 

X

N.M. Stat. Ann. Section 24-5-3

New York

X

 

X

N.Y. Pub. Health Law Section 2164

North Carolina

X

 

X

N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 130A-155, et seq.

North Dakota

X

X

X

N.D. Cent. Code Section 23-07-17.1

Ohio

X

X

X

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 3313.671

Oklahoma

X

X

X

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, Section 1210.191, et seq. (navigate to code section)

Oregon

X

X

X

Or. Rev. Stat. Section 433.267

Pennsylvania

X

X

X

28 Pa. Code Section 23-83, 84

Rhode Island

X

 

X

R.I. Gen. Laws Section 16-38-2

South Carolina

X

 

X

S.C. Code Ann. § 44-29-180

South Dakota

X

 

X

S.D. Codified Laws Section 13-28-7.1 (navigate to code section)

Tennessee

X

 

X

Tenn. Code Ann. Section 49-6-5001

Texas

X

X

X

Tex. Edu Code Ann. Section 38.001

Utah

X

X

X

Utah Code Ann. Section 53A-11-301, 302

Vermont

X

X

X

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, Section 1121, 1122

Virginia

X

 

X

Va. Code Ann. Section 22.1-271.2

Washington

X

X

X

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. Section 28A.210.090

West Virginia

 

 

X

W. Va. Code Section 16-3-4

Wisconsin

X

X

X

Wis. Stat. Ann. Section 252.04

Wyoming

X

 

X

Wyo. Stat. Ann. Section 21-4-309

Note: 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 attorney or conduct additional research to learn more.

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