Students at any grade, Kindergarten through 12th, including all public, private, parochial or nonpublic school in this Commonwealth must show proof of immunization before they can attend school. This pertains to vocational schools, alternative education programs, intermediate units, special education, home education programs, charter and cyber charter schools.
Mandated School Immunization Requirements
Attention Parent/Guardian Flyer
Flow Chart for Determining Immunization Compliance
School Immunization Requirements Rack Card
School Immunization Procedure Manual
School Catch-Up Program
School Immunization Law Report
Pennsylvania Immunization Law and Regulations
According to PA Code Title 28 Health and Safety, Chapter 23 School Health, Section 23.83: Each school director, superintendent, principal, or other person in charge of a public, private, parochial or nonpublic school in this Commonwealth, including vocational schools, intermediate units, and special education and home education programs, cyber and charter schools, shall ascertain that a student has been immunized in accordance with the requirements in subsections (b), (c) and (e) prior to admission to school for the first time, under section 1303 of the Public School Code of 1949.
Exemptions to Immunizations
Only licensed health care professionals and designated Health Department personnel can sign for medical exemptions. Chiropractors' certifications for medical exemptions are not acceptable. A medical exemption for a specific antigen(s) should be documented in the statement of exemption. All other immunizations are still required. If a physician provides written documentation that the student is adequately immunized when there are inappropriate intervals or any other spacing issues, the instance should be considered a medical exemption. In the event of a disease outbreak, the Division of Immunizations will recommend exclusion of the student or may make other recommendations based on the disease outbreak and the immunity history.
Types of Exemptions:
1. Medical Students are exempt from immunization if a physician provides a written statement that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the student.
2. Religious Students are exempt from immunization if the parent, guardian or emancipated student objects in writing to the immunization based on contradiction to their religious beliefs.
3. Philosophical/Strong Moral Ethical Conviction (added 2013) Students are exempt from immunization if the parent, guardian or emancipated student objects in writing to the immunization based on personal beliefs.
4-day grace period. A vaccine dose administered within the 4-day period prior to the minimum age for the vaccination or prior to the end of the minimum interval between doses shall be considered to be valid. A dose administered greater than 4 days prior to minimum age or interval for a dose is invalid. NOTE: The grace period may not be used with the 28-day minimum interval between two live vaccines. (Section 23.83)
Foreign exchange students or those visiting Pennsylvania schools. Foreign exchange students or foreign students visiting Pennsylvania schools need at least one dose of each antigen and are then granted a provisional enrollment, same as any student enrolling in a Pennsylvania schools.
Homeless students. The school shall immediately enroll the student in school, even if the student lacks records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency or other documentation. See the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Basic Education Circulars here , choose "Education for Homeless Youth" or "Enrollment of Students."
Child care group setting. Each student enrolled in a child care group setting shall be immunized in accordance with The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) standards. Students attending child care group settings located in schools are to follow the immunization requirements included in 28 PA Code 27.77. These requirements are specifically geared towards students under the age of 5 years. If a student attending a child care group setting is 5 years of age or older, then the school immunization requirements in 28 Pa. Code 23.81-23.87 would apply regardless of the student's location.
Prekindergarten setting. Attendance at a prekindergarten program operated by a school district, an early intervention program operated by a contractor or subcontractor including intermediate units, school districts and private vendors, or at private academic preschools is conditional upon the student's satisfaction of the immunization requirements 28 Pa. Code 27.77.
Updated: January 2018