From Rules to Communication and Record Tracking to Exemptions 

The new law went into effect on July 28 and applies to all public and private schools as well as licensed childcare centers.  Here is what private schools need to know:

  • Schools need to email or mail letters to families advising them if their student is in need of the updated vaccination record.  WA DOH has sample letters for schools HERE.
  • Schools must obtain an updated MMR vaccination record or proof of immunity from every student before they come to the first day of school.  Students who provided the school with their completed vaccination record last year do not need to furnish a new record., provided it is current.
  • The law also requires employees and volunteers at child care centers to provide immunization records indicating they have received the MMR vaccine or proof of immunity. 
  • This law does not change religious and medical exemption laws. Children who have one of these types of exemptions on file are not affected by the new law:
Medical Exemption:
Healthcare practitioners licensed in Washington State may grant a Permanent or Temporary medical exemption if there is a medical contraindication to immunization as determined by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices  here. Both require healthcare practitioner and parent/guardian signatures.
  • Permanent medical exemption: A child must have a medical reason to permanently exempt an immunization.
  • Temporary medical exemption: A child must have a medical reason to temporarily delay an immunization with the intent to be immunized later. Healthcare practitioners must give a date that the temporary exemption ends. Staff at a school, preschool, or child care should monitor temporary exemptions. When the temporary exemption ends the child has 30 days to get the missing immunization or another exemption.

Religious Exemption: To be used when the parent/guardian has a religious belief that is contrary to the required immunization. Both parent/guardian and healthcare practitioner signatures are required.

Accessing immunization Records
Families can access their immunization records or go to to check whether their child meets the MMR vaccine requirements.  
Schools, including private schools, can have an authorized healthcare personnel access the WA State Immunization Information System (ISS) provided this person is trained to properly manage medically verified data.  Go to the DOH website HERE to learn about Privacy Rules and How to Get Access to the ISS.