No US federal vaccination laws exist, but all 50 states have laws requiring children attending public school to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (generally in a DTaP vaccine); polio (an IPV vaccine); measles and rubella (generally in an MMR vaccine); and varicella (chickenpox). All 50 states allow medical exemptions, 44 states allow religious exemptions, and 15 states allow philosophical (or personal belief) exemptions. DC allows medical and religious exemptions.
While reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, do not rely on this information without first checking with your local school or government.
|States & DC||Allows|
|50 States & DC||45 States & DC||15 States & DC|
*Washington removed the philosophical vaccine exemption for the MMR vaccine only, effective July 28, 2019.
**Connecticut’s ban on religious vaccine exemptions went into effect for the 2022-2023 school year. Parents of children already in the K-12 school system will be able to continue to claim religious exemptions, but parents of students entering the K-12 system for the first time will not be able to claim religious exemptions.
Bobby Allyn, “New York Ends Religious Exemptions for Required Vaccines,” npr.org, June 13, 2019
Pat Bradley, “Vermont Governor Signs Bill Removing Philosophical Exemption from Vaccine Choice,” wamc.org, May 29, 2015
Zack Budryk, “Maine Vaccination Law Survives Referendum Vote,” thehill.com, Mar. 3, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Childcare and School Immunization Requirements,” www.2a.cdc.gov, June 23, 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “School Vaccination Requirements, Exemptions and Web Links,” www.cdc.gov, July 21, 2011
E.A. Crunden, “Washington State Takes Aim at Measles Crisis by Hitting Vaccines Exemptions,” thinkprogress.org, May 11, 2019
Morgan Gstalter, “Maine Governor Signs Bill to Remove Religious, Philosophical Vaccine Exemptions,” thehill.com, May 25, 2019
Lexi Lonas, “Connecticut Ends Religious Exemption for School Vaccinations,” thehill.com, Apr. 28, 2021
National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), “States with Religious and Philosophical Exemptions from School Immunization Requirements,” www.ncsl.org, Dec. 2009
National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), “State Vaccine Requirements,” www.nvic.org (accessed Jan. 22, 2010)
Washington State Legislature, “HB 1638 – 2019-20,” app.leg.wa.gov (accessed July 26, 2019)
Patty Wight, “Vaccine Exemptions Defeated in Maine, a New Law Dividing Parents Is Upheld,” npr.org, Mar. 3, 2020
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