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
Information for School Staff
As part of the law change, school staff need to follow up with any child who currently has a personal/philosophical exemption to MMR vaccine. We developed a sample letter for school staff to send to parents on the new requirements. Please edit and use this document as needed.
An updated Certificate of Exemption form is available. Download the new Certificate of Exemption on our Immunization Forms webpage. The Certificate is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
We keep a mailing list to share information for schools. Please consider signing up to get the latest information about immunization requirements and reporting, including if the Tdap requirements change. Enter your email and click submit, and then open the choices for immunizations and select the school list.
Information for Child Care Staff
As part of the law change, child cares need to ensure staff are immunized with MMR, and they need to follow up with any child who currently has a personal/philosophical exemption to MMR vaccine. Here are sample letters for child cares to educate staff and parents/guardians on the new requirements. Please customize the marked sections and use these documents as needed.
If you have questions not answered on this page, email OICP@doh.wa.gov.
Why Is This Change Important?
The recent measles outbreak in Washington and the ongoing outbreaks across the United States demonstrate why the change to the vaccine exemption law will help keep Washington healthy and safe from three serious diseases.