Note: Information on this page pertains to state vaccination requirements for children. It does not reflect COVID-19 vaccine mandates, as that vaccine is not a requirement for children in Washington State. For support related to adult COVID-19 mandates, please visit our COVID MANDATES HELP page.
Exemptions for Children: Daycare, Preschool and K-12 Grades
WA State law allows for medical, philosophical, and religious exemptions from state mandated vaccination requirements for daycare, preschool, and K-12. (Note: Colleges and businesses set their own vaccine requirements and exemption procedures.)
NOTE: In the 2019 Legislative Session, EHB 1638 removed the personal-philosophical exemption to the MMR vaccine (the personal-philosophical exemption remains for all other vaccines). The medical and religious exemptions remain for the MMR, and this includes both personal-religious (no church membership required) and church-affiliation. ICWA contacted the Department of Health about the design and content of the new exemption form and provided input. The new form is available below.
Religious Exemptions Remain Unchanged. Please visit RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS CLARIFIED for more information and for printable letters you can share with parents, schools, and providers about exemption rights.
NOTE: If you choose to delay or skip even one vaccine that is required for the grade your child is entering, you will need to file an exemption form for that vaccine with the school in order to be “in compliance.”
If you choose to exempt your child from one or more state-required vaccines for school or daycare attendance, you need to file a Certificate of Exemption with your school. The WA Certificate of Exemption requires the signature of a qualified healthcare provider. As an alternative to signing the Certificate Form, a qualified healthcare provider may write a letter indicating that they have discussed the benefits and the risks of vaccines with the parent/legal guardian of the child.
ALSO NOTE: You may get your child’s blood checked for protective antibody titers for the infections targeted by the required vaccines. If the test(s) are positive, those results can be recorded by your child’s doctor on the Certificate of Immunization form, in lieu of vaccination.
The Certificate of Exemption Form (School, Child Care and Preschool)
“Q: Which healthcare providers may sign the exemption form or write a letter?A: Only physicians (M.D.), physician assistants (P.A.), osteopaths (D.O.), naturopaths (N.D.), and advanced registered nurse practitioners (A.R.N.P.) 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. Military personnel who are WA state-licensed physicians, naturopaths, or advanced registered nurses can sign the exemption or write a letter, if it is within the scope of their official duties.”
“Q: How does a healthcare provider verify that they informed parents/guardians about the benefits and risks of vaccinationA: Healthcare providers sign the pre-written declaration on the exemption form. They can also write a letter that:
- Indicates they gave the parent information about the benefits and risks of immunization to the child.
- Contains the child’s name.
- Is signed and dated by the provider.”