Back 

School Immunization Exemption State Laws

States with Religious and Philosophical Exemptions from School Immunization Requirements

December 2012

All fifty states have legislation requiring specified vaccines for students.  Although exemptions vary from state to state, all school immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons.  Almost all states, except Mississippi and West Virginia, grant religious exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against immunizations.  Nineteen states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of a personal, moral or other beliefs.

 

 State

Statute

 Religious Exemption

 Philosophical Exemption

 Alabama

 Ala. Code § 16-30-3

 Yes

 No

 Alaska

 Ak. Stat. §14.30.125

 Yes

 No

 Arizona

 Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-872, 873

 Yes

 Yes

 Arkansas

 Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-702

 Yes

 Yes

 California

 Cal. Health & Safety Code § 120325 et seq.

 Yes

 Yes

 Colorado

 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-902, 903

 Yes

 Yes 

 Connecticut

 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-204a

 Yes

 No

 Delaware

 Del. Code Ann.  tit. 14  § 131

 Yes

 No 

 Washington, DC

 D.C. Code Ann. § 38-501, 506

 Yes

 No

 Florida

 Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.22

 Yes

 No

 Georgia

 Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-771

 Yes

 No

 Hawaii

 Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302A-1154, 1156

 Yes

 No

 Idaho

 Idaho Code § 39-4801, 4802

 Yes

 Yes

 Illinois

 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/27-8.1

 Yes

 No

 Indiana

 Ind. Code Ann. § 21-40-5

 Yes

 No

 Iowa

 Iowa Code Ann. § 139A.8

 Yes

 No

 Kansas

 Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-5209

 Yes

 No

 Kentucky

 Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 214.034

 Yes

 No

 Louisiana

 La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:170(A); 40:31.16

 Yes

 Yes

 Maine

 Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A § 6355

 Yes

 Yes

 Maryland

 Md. Code Ann. Educ. § 7-403

 Yes

 No 

 Massachusetts

 Mass. Gen Laws ch.76, § 15

 Yes

 No 

 Michigan

 Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.9208, 9215

 Yes

 Yes

 Minnesota

 Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A-15

 Yes

 Yes

 Mississippi

 Miss. Code Ann. § 41-23-37

 No 

 No 

 Missouri

 Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.181, 210.003

 Yes

 Yes*

 Montana

 Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-403, 405

 Yes

 No

 Nebraska

 Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 79-217, 221

 Yes 

 No

 Nevada

 Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.435, 437, 439

 Yes 

 No 

 New Hampshire

 N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 141-C:20-a, 20-c

 Yes 

 No 

 New Jersey

 N.J. Stat. Ann. § 26:1A-9, 9.1

 Yes 

 No 

 New Mexico

 N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-5-1, 3

 Yes 

 No

 New York

 N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 2164

 Yes 

 No 

 North Carolina

 N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-155, 156, 157

 Yes 

 No 

 North Dakota

 N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07-17.1

 Yes 

 Yes

 Ohio

 Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.671

 Yes 

 Yes

 Oklahoma

 Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 1210.191, 192

 Yes 

 Yes

 Oregon

 Or. Rev. Stat. § 433.267

 Yes 

 No 

 Pennsylvania

 28 Pa. Code § 23-83, 84

 Yes 

 Yes

 Rhode Island

 R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-38-2

 Yes 

 No 

 South Carolina

 S.C. Code Ann. § 44-29-180

 Yes 

 No 

 South Dakota

 S.D. Codified Laws § 13-28-7.1

 Yes 

 No 

 Tennessee

 Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-5001

 Yes

 No

 Texas

 Tex. Edu Code Ann. § 38.001

 Yes

 Yes

 Utah

 Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-301, 302

 Yes

 Yes

 Vermont

 Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 1121, 1122

 Yes

 Yes

 Virginia

 Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-271.2, § 32.1-46

 Yes

 No

 Washington

 Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.210.080, 90

 Yes 

 Yes

 West Virginia

 W. Va. Code § 16-3-4

 No

 No

 Wisconsin

 Wis. Stat. Ann. § 252.04

 Yes 

 Yes

 Wyoming

 Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-4-309

 Yes

 No

 

Religious exemption indicates that there is a provision in the statute that allows parents to exempt their children from vaccination if it contradicts their sincere religious beliefs.

Philosophical exemption indicates that the statutory language does not restrict the exemption to purely religious or spiritual beliefs.  For example, Maine allows restrictions based on "moral, philosophical or other personal beliefs," and California allows objections based on simply the parent(s) beliefs.

* The Missouri philosophical exemption applies only to daycare, preschool and nursery school.

Sources: Chart adapted from "School Vaccination Requirements" Legal and Social Perspectives", James G. Hodge Jr., NCSL State Legislative Report, August 2002; LexisNexis 2008.

Note: List may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections. 

 

Share this: 
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures