vaccine, immunizations, exemption, requirements, legislation, policy, education


Background: : Children are required by law to receive vaccinations to enter school. States and territories offer exemptions for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Types of exemptions vary by state or territory, as does the exemption filing process. The purpose of this research was to identify the various education-related processes implemented by states and territories which allow parents to exempt children from vaccinations.

Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to immunization program managers in the 50 United States, District of Columbia, the United States Indian Health Service, and eight United States territories. Managers reported vaccination requirements for their jurisdiction (collectively referred to as "state"). Education-related questions identified which states required parents to: 1) read and sign a vaccination risk/benefit statement prior to exemption; 2) complete mandatory vaccine education before obtaining vaccination exemption; 3) complete education within a certain time period before school admission. Additionally, states were asked how parental vaccine education was regulated.

Results: A parent-signed risk/benefit statement was required by 25 states for religious exemptions, 12 states for personal exemptions, 10 states for medical exemptions, and 1 state for temporary medical exemptions. Thirteen states required mandatory parental vaccine education prior to obtaining an exemption. For states that mandated parental vaccine education prior to e

Conclusions: Vaccine education requirements and the process for providing this education to parents seeking immunization exemptions vary greatly between the states. More research is needed to fully understand the impact of the education requirement on exemption rates. Familiarity with and effectiveness of various state vaccine education requirements may aid policymakers who are considering enacting mandatory vaccine education in their state.

Original Publication Citation

Eden, L. M., Dunn, E. G.**, Luthy, K. E., Wells, K., Macintosh J. & Beckstrand, R. (2017). Identifying United States and territory education requirements for childhood vaccination exemptions. Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination (8)4, 1-5.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination





University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor