Schools in Washington are required to provide information on Meningococcal disease to parents/guardians of all students entering grades 6-12. Meningococcal disease is a serious, but rare bacterial infection affecting the brain (meningitis) and blood. This disease spreads through direct contact with infected persons by coughing, kissing, or sharing anything by mouth, such as water bottles. A vaccine is available that can protect your child against the most common types of bacteria that cause Meningococcal disease. The vaccine is not required for school attendance. We encourage you to learn more about the disease and prevention and speak to your child's health care provider about immunizations. Website information is available at:
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV)
Washington Law requires school districts to annually provide parents and guardians with information about Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and its vaccine, beginning with 6th-grade girls and boys. The HPV vaccine protects against four types of HPV which cause 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the HPV vaccine for all girls and boys age 11-12 years. The HPV vaccine is not required for school entry in Washington. We encourage you to learn more about HPV and speak to your child's health care provider about immunizations. Website information is available at:
MMR Vaccine Exemption Law Change 2019
In May 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that removes the personal and philosophical option to exempt children from the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine required for school and child care entry.
The bill took effect July 28, 2019 and applies to public and private schools and child cares. The law removes the option for a personal/philosophical exemption to the MMR vaccine requirement for schools and child cares. It also requires employees and volunteers at child care centers to provide immunization records indicating they have received the MMR vaccine or proof of immunity.
The department and our partners will continue our work in helping parents and the public understand the safety record of vaccines and the critical role they have in saving lives.
This page contains quick information and resources on this change to school and child care immunization requirements. Find more detailed information in the Frequently Asked Questions. As more information becomes available, we will share it.
Law Change Quick Facts
- The new law took effect July 28, 2019 and applies to public and private schools and licensed child cares.
- The law also requires employees and volunteers at child care centers to provide immunization records indicating they have received the MMR vaccine or proof of immunity.
- This law does not change religious and medical exemption laws. Children who have one of these types of exemptions on file are not affected by the new law.
- This law does not change personal and philosophical exemptions for vaccines other than MMR.
- Access your family’s immunization records if you need to check whether you or your child meets the MMR vaccine requirements.
- This law does not affect most students. More than 9 out of 10 kindergartners in Washington are complete with both doses of MMR vaccine, and 96 percent of 6th graders have both doses. These students, along with those who have medical or religious exemptions, will notice no change from the new exemption law.
- Learn more about Engrossed House Bill 1638 here, or read the full text of the new law.
- In partnership with the department, 15 Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies across the state are offering MMR vaccine free of charge to child care staff and volunteers who need it because of the new law. Read the July 25 news release for more information. Click here for a list of participating locations.