Revised Immunization Requirements for School Attendance in Effect

An update to school immunization requirements by the State Department of Health means students will be getting more shots. The changes go into effect July 1, 2014.

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Beginning July 1, 2014, New York’s immunization requirements for school attendance changed to meet updated national standards, according to a press release issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

The revised immunization requirements do not add any new vaccines for school entry, but update the number of doses required – for instance, for the chicken pox and polio vaccines. There’s also change to the minimum amount of time allowed between doses and medical exemptions must now be re-issued annually.

The update to school immunization requirements is the first by the NYS DOH in over a decade.

The new immunization requirements apply to daycare, head start, nursery, pre-kindergarten and grade kindergarten through 12.

The changes are necessary to help reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases.

“Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the U.S. and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect people from potential outbreaks,” according to the DOH press release. “Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country by infected individuals, putting unvaccinated people at risk.”

New changes to school immunization requirements include:

  • Students entering kindergarten or 6th grade in the 2014-2015 school year will now be required to have two doses of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine and 3-5 doses of poliomyelitis vaccine. The updated varicella and polio vaccination requirements will be phased in over the next seven years and will be required for all grades by the 2020-2021 school year.
  • For all other required vaccines, students in day care, head start, nursery, pre-kindergarten and grades kindergarten through 12 will be required to have age-appropriate doses in accordance with the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) schedule.
  • A student who is in process is defined as one who has had the first dose of vaccine in all of the required immunization series and has appointments to complete the series in accordance with the ACIP catch up schedule. See A student who is in process must be allowed to attend school.
  • Students may present proof of immunity by serology (blood test) for the following immunizations: measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella, and poliomyelitis.
  • Medical exemptions to immunizations must be reissued annually. The written exemption must identify the immunization exempted, the medical contraindication for the exemption, and the length of time the immunization is contraindicated. A sample medical exemption form is available at
  • Any child who has been vaccinated according to the ACIP recommendations, which are followed by most health care providers, should not need further vaccinations in order to attend day care or school.

A details immunization chart outlining the new requirements for the 2014-2015 school year, along with frequently asked questions regarding the school immunization regulations is available at

[Source: New York State Department of Health]