Universally Recommended Vaccinations: Vaccination Requirements for Child Care, School, & College Attendance
Vaccination requirements are laws or policies requiring vaccinations or other documentation of immunity as a condition of child care, school, and college attendance. Their purpose is to reduce the incidence of vaccine-preventable disease and associated morbidity and mortality by increasing vaccination rates.
Laws are created by states, with the specific vaccines required established by the legislature and embodied in statutes or adopted as administrative rules by health or education departments. Institutions, such as colleges and private schools, may establish additional vaccination policies for attendance or residence.
Vaccination requirements vary across jurisdictions by:
- Acceptable documentation of immunity
- Access to exemptions (especially nonmedical exemptions)
- The type and consistency of enforcement
Summary of Task Force Recommendations & Findings
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends vaccination requirements for child care, school, and college attendance based on strong evidence of effectiveness in increasing vaccination rates and in decreasing rates of vaccine-preventable disease and associated morbidity and mortality. These findings are based on studies demonstrating effectiveness of vaccination requirements:
- For attendance in a variety of settings
- For an array of recommended vaccines
- In populations ranging in age from early childhood to late adolescence
The Task Force recommendation was made in June 2009. It is based on evidence from a previously completed review (search period 1980-1997) and an updated review (search period 1997-2009). Updates of reviews are conducted to incorporate more recent evidence.
These reviews were conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to vaccinations to prevent diseases. Please subscribe to be notified as new materials on this topic become available.
Learn more about the original review and Task Force finding in the Vaccinations to Prevent Diseases section of our publications page.
The findings and results of this systematic review have not been published. Read other Community Guide publications about Vaccinations to Prevent Diseases in our library, including articles about the previous review. You may also subscribe to be notified as new materials on this topic become available.
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Universally recommended vaccinations: vaccination requirements for child care, school, and college attendance (abbreviated). www.thecommunityguide.org/vaccines/universally/requirements_school.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: June 2009
- Page last reviewed: January 31, 2011
- Page last updated: December 27, 2011
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services