Immunizations are important for reducing the spread of disease and keeping children healthy and ready to learn.
Washington State law (RCW 28A.210.080) requires that all children enrolled at a public or private school must have documentation of the required immunizations or an exemption to attend school or childcare, including those attending an alternative school program such as Running Start, vocational technical school or virtual school. The immunization records must be on file at the school or childcare on or before the first day of attendance.
View DOH vaccination requirements for the 2022-23 school year here.
For more information about immunization requirements, visit the Department of Health website. Please contact health services at 360-676-6455 or your school nurse if you have any questions or need assistance in locating a vaccine provider, obtaining health insurance, or getting established with a health care provider.
Exemptions from Immunization Requirements
Washington State Law allows parents/guardians to exempt their child from the school or childcare immunization requirements. Exemptions may be claimed for personal/philosophical, religious or medical reasons. Measles, mumps, and rubella may not be exempted for personal/philosophical reasons. To request an exemption, a completed Certificate of Exemption must be submitted to the school or childcare center.
Conditional Status and School Entry
Children who are in the process of completing their required immunizations may remain in school or childcare in a temporary conditional status. Contact your school nurse to arrange.
Outbreaks and Exclusion
To control the spread of disease a local health officer may exclude children and staff in schools and childcare facilities who are susceptible (i.e. unvaccinated). WAC 246-110-020.
What do vaccines cost?
Clinics in the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program provide childhood vaccines at no cost in the state of Washington. Providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine, called an administration fee. If you cannot pay the administration fee, you can ask your health care provider to waive the cost. Find VFC clinics by using this vaccine map.
Meningococcal and Human Papilloma Virus
The Washington State Legislature requires us to make information available to you about meningococcal disease and human papillomavirus (HPV). Know the facts about these diseases and the vaccines available to protect your child.
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection. Fortunately, this life-threatening illness is rare, with only 20-30 cases reported each year in Washington. The most common symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, headache, and rash. It can cause meningitis (swelling of the covering of the brain and spinal cord). The disease spreads through close contact with an infected person. Teens and young adults are more likely to get meningococcal disease, especially if they live in group settings like college dorms.
The meningococcal conjugate vaccine, or MCV4, prevents against four types of the disease. It is a 2-dose series recommended for all children between 11 and 12 years of age, and again at 16 to 18 years of age. The meningococcal B vaccine, or MenB, is recommended for some children with rare health conditions or who are at risk during a meningococcal B outbreak.
For more information about meningococcal disease and how to prevent it:
HPV is a common virus. Most people exposed to HPV will never develop health issues. But for others, HPV causes major health problems, including cervical, anal, vulvar, mouth, and throat cancer. Most infected people have no symptoms and may spread the virus without knowing it. HPV spreads mainly through sexual contact.
Make sure your child gets the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is highly effective. The HPV vaccine can prevent infection from some of the most common and serious types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts. The vaccine does not get rid of existing HPV infections.
Because the vaccine is more effective when given at younger ages, two doses of HPV vaccine are recommended for all boys and girls starting at ages 9 to 14. If boys or girls do not get the first dose of HPV vaccine before age 15, it is recommended as a three-dose series.
For more information on HPV, the vaccine, and cervical cancer:
Talk to your healthcare provider about the vaccines your child needs. In addition to meningococcal and HPV, your preteen should receive Tdap. Washington offers vaccines at no cost to kids through age 18. Providers may charge an office visit fee or administration fee to give the vaccine. If you can’t afford these fees, you can ask to have them waived.