School Immunization Requirements
New Pennsylvania School Immunization Requirements
Starting August 1, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is changing school immunization requirements. Every child must have the required vaccines or they will risk exclusion from school. Under the new regulation, the current provisional waiver of eight months for school children to be fully immunized is reduced to five school days.
All Children in grades K-12 need the following immunizations:
- 4 doses of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (1 dose on or after the 4th birthday) Usually given as DTP or DTaP or DT or Td
- 4 doses of polio (4th dose on or after 4th birthday and at least 6 months after previous dose given) A 4th dose not necessary if the 3rd dose was administered at age 4 years or older and at least 6 months after the previous dose
- 2 doses of measles, mumps, rubella (Usually given as MMR)
- 3 doses of hepatitis B
- 2 doses of varicella (chickenpox) or evidence of immunity
Students going into 7th grade also need:
- 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) on the first day of 7th grade
- 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) on the first day of 7th grade
Students going into 12th grade also need:
- 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV) on the first day of 12th grade
If one dose was given at 16 years of age or older, that shall count as the twelfth grade dose.
A child has the ability to be exempted from the immunization requirements for these reasons:
- Religious belief
- Philosophical/strong moral or ethical conviction
Even if a child is exempt from immunizations, they may be excluded from school during an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease.
All immunizations are due within the first five days of school.
A child is required to have any single dose vaccine upon school entry, or risk exclusion.
In the case of a multi-dose vaccine, regulations require that the child have at least one dose of the vaccine upon school entry or risk exclusion.
- DTaP (4) kindergarten
- Polio (4) kindergarten
- HepB (3) kindergarten
- MMR (2) kindergarten
- Varicella (2) kindergarten
- MCV (2) 7th -12th grades
If additional doses are required and are medically appropriate within the first five days of school, the child shall have either the final dose during that five-day period or the child shall have the next scheduled dose and shall also provide a medical certificate setting out the schedule for the remaining doses.
If the child has at least one dose, but needs additional doses, and those doses are not medically appropriate during the first five days of school, the child may provide a medical certificate on or before the fifth school day showing the doses are scheduled to be administered. The medical certificate shall be signed by a physician, certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) or physician assistant (PA). If the child will be receiving the immunizations from the a public health department, a public health official may sign the medical certificate.
A child who meets these requirements may continue to attend school even if the child does not have all the required vaccinations, so long as the child complies with the vaccination schedule in the medical plan/certificate.