School Vaccination Requirements: Ensuring Your Child’s Immunization in Each State

2023-08-03 07:00:00

While school vaccination requirements vary by state, many vaccines are universally required—here’s what to make sure your child has in each state.

The four most common childhood vaccines, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), polio and varicella (chickenpox) are required for children to enroll in kindergarten in Washington, D.C., and every state except Iowa, which does not require the MMR vaccine (though doctors recommend any student receive the MMR vaccine.).

Washington, D.C., and all 50 states except for Alabama and South Dakota also require Hepatitis B vaccines, while 23 states—Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia—as well as Washington, D.C., and Maricopa County in Arizona require Hepatitis A vaccines (doctors say that the best protection comes from receiving the full combination of Hepatitis shots).

Only a handful of states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York (but only in New York City), Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island—require the annual flu shot to attend school, but doctors recommend everyone, with rare exceptions, receive it annually to help slow the spread of influenza.

The HPV vaccine is required for students entering grade seven in Virginia, Rhode Island, Hawaii and for female students entering grade seven in Washington, D.C.

The MenACWY Vaccine, which protects against meningococcal disease, is required for students entering middle school or high school in 34 states—Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia—and Washington, D.C. (each state has different criteria for who exactly needs to receive it and at what age).

The Covid-19 vaccine is not presently required to attend school in any state.

To see if a state has any exceptions or exemptions, parents can check their state’s health department website or ask their school.

This information came from state health departments and Immunize.org.

92.5%. That’s how many children are fully vaccinated against polio, which was eradicated in the U.S. in the late 1970s by the vaccine, by two years of age. For MMR, that number is 90.8%. For DTaP, that’s 80.4%. For Hepatitis B, that’s 91.4% and for varicella, that’s 90.3%.

Having your child vaccinated is not just about protecting them, doctors say. It’s also about protecting the whole class, particularly students who, due to medical conditions, cannot receive vaccines or have weakened immune systems. School brings lots of children together, creating an environment where germs and diseases can spread easily. The more students that are vaccinated, the less widely those germs and diseases can spread.

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