As of July 22, 2011, Washington State law requires that before attending school, children must be immunized against certain diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations. Parents and guardians meet this requirement by filling out and turning in a Certificate of Immunization Status, showing their child has the required vaccinations (or that they have already had the illness and are now immune- grades 5-12 only). If parents and guardians choose to exempt their child from one or more of the required vaccines, they must fill out a Certificate of Exemption form.
The 2011 Washington State Legislature passed a law that changes the process for getting an immunization exemption. If a parent or guardian wants to exempt their child from school or child care immunization requirements, they must first talk with a licensed health care provider about the benefits and risks of vaccinations. The provider will sign the Certificate of Exemption form that parents have to turn in to the school or child care to exempt their child. Instead of signing the form, providers may choose to write and sign a letter verifying the same information. Most parents or guardians checking the box for a religious exemption must also talk to a provider and get their signature. The only exception is parents or guardians demonstrating membership in a church or religious body that does not allow medical treatment.
Students are in “conditional” status if they are missing one or more required vaccines on their first day of attendance or, in some cases, after they’ve begun school or child care. These students can attend school for 30 days from the time they get notified that their child has conditional status. In this time, parents or guardians must:
- Get the child vaccinated.
- Show a record of past vaccination.
- Exempt their child for the missing vaccine.
If a parent does not take action within 30 days, the child must be excluded from school or child care. Children with completed exemption forms do not have “conditional” status. See WAC 246-105-020 and WAC 246-105-060 for more information.
Who can sign exemptions
Physicians (M.D.), physician assistants (P.A.), osteopaths (D.O.), naturopaths (N.D.), and advanced registered nurse practitioners (A.R.N.P.) who are currently licensed in Washington are authorized to sign the exemption form or write a letter. Signatures by registered nurses (R.N.) or licensed practical nurses (L.P.N.) are not acceptable.
Forms and Resources
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