Schools, Child Cares Have New Immunization Rules

Danielle Koenig
Health Promotion Supervisor
Center for Public Affairs
Washington State Department of Health

The way schools collect immunization records and comply with immunization rules will be different this school year. Effective August 1, 2020, these three major changes will go into effect:

  • All new immunization records from students need to be medically verified.
  • The definition of “conditional status” has been clarified.
  • The Tdap vaccine requirement for 6th graders has been changed to a 7th grade requirement.

These changes were approved by the Washington State Board of Health in 2019.

Medically Verified Records

Because of the change, you may see an increase in parents and guardians asking you for immunization records. To help them comply with school requirements, you may provide them with:

  • A completed Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) signed by you or another authorized health care provider.
  • A CIS printed from the Washington State Immunization Information System.
  • Their medical records or immunization record printed from your EHR that they can then attach to the child’s CIS.
  • Encourage your patients to sign up for MyIR and print their records from home.

Tdap Requirements

To better align with the national age recommendation, all students attending grades 7 through 12 must have one dose of Tdap vaccine or a valid exemption. Previously, they had to have it by 6th grade.

If a patient of yours does not already meet the requirement, they must follow these guidelines:

  • For students entering 7th grade, the Tdap vaccine must be given at or after age 10 to be accepted for school entry.
  • For students entering 8th to 12th grades, the Tdap vaccine must be given at or after age 7 to be accepted for school entry.

Find the ACIP’s recommended and catch-up adolescent immunization schedules here. The Washington Immunization Information System (WAIIS) forecast has been updated to reflect the new Tdap recommendations.

More Information

The Department of Health has set up a website with more details on the new law and how it may affect health care providers, including frequently asked questions.