Parents: What You Need to Know About Changes to State Immunization Policy for Schools and Child Cares
Washington State approved changes to immunization policy that go into effect in August 2020 for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
- Medically-verified immunization records are required for schools (and child care centers) to prove immunity.
- A Tdap booster is required for entry into 7th grade.
What are “Medically Verified” Records?
Immunization records now need to be printed from the IIS or MyIR or have additional verification.
Medically verified records include one of the following:
- A Certificate of Immunization (CIS) printed from the Immunization Information System (IIS)
- A physical copy of the CIS form with a healthcare provider signature
- A physical copy of the CIS with accompanying medical immunization records from a healthcare provider verified and signed by school staff
- A CIS printed from MyIR
What is the change to the Tdap requirement?
The requirement for Tdap dose changes from grades 6-12 to grades 7-12. For the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, all students in 7th grade must have received their Tdap dose on or after age 10.
All students entering 7th through 12th grades must have one booster dose of Tdap.
Students in 8th through 12th grades can meet the requirement if they had a dose administered as early as age 7. Students in grades 8 through 12 are grandfathered in because they were vaccinated under the previous immunization guidelines.
What options are available for students who do not meet the requirements?
Children can be granted conditional status into school or child care who are making progress towards completing their immunization requirements. Children may begin school or child care only if they received all the required immunizations, they are due to receive and submitted medically verified records on or before the first day of attendance.
If additional immunizations are needed after receiving all immunizations, they are eligible to receive before starting school, children may start school or child care in conditional status and remain until the next dose becomes due. Children then have 30 calendar days to turn in updated records showing they received missing doses. If additional doses are due, conditional status continues until all required immunizations are complete. If the 30 days pass without updated records, the child must not attend school or child care.
Are there still exemptions?
The new policy was updated to align with a recent state law change that removed the personal/philosophical exemptions for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The rule also removes the need for parents or guardians to specify their religious membership on the Certificate of Exemption.
Resources and Information
Additional resources, including answers to some frequently asked questions, are available from the Washington Department of Health.