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Risks of not vaccinating

If you choose to delay vaccines or to not vaccinate your child based on personal beliefs, religious, or medical reasons, become familiar with the risks. Many vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the U.S., like pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis, and flu. Other diseases, like measles, are still common in other parts of the world and are just a plane ride away. Your child can catch diseases, like Hib meningitis, from people who don't show any signs of being sick. An unvaccinated child also risks infecting others, especially medically vulnerable individuals like infants and people with compromised immune systems.

Children who are not fully immunized may be excluded from attending school or childcare when there are cases or outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Exclusions protect unvaccinated people and prevent the spread of disease. Exclusions can last for days or weeks until the risk of getting infected is gone. Parents and guardians need to be prepared to take unexpected time off of work.

Make sure your immunizations are up-to-date. Visit Washington MyIR to access your family's immunization records and confirm you are ready for school!

Parents and guardians meet school immunization requirements by turning in a Certificate of Immunization Status form showing that their children received all required vaccinations (or have already had an illness and are now immune). As of August 2020, all immunization records must be medically verified. “Medically verified” means that a healthcare provider has confirmed the information is accurate. Parents/guardian can meet this requirement by turning in one of the following types of documentation:

  • A Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) printed from the Immunization Information System (IIS).
  • A physical copy of the CIS form with a healthcare provider signature.
  • A physical copy of the CIS with medical immunization records from a healthcare provider. Forms must be verified and signed by school staff.
  • A CIS printed from MyIR.

People seeking exemptions from one or more vaccines must meet with a licensed health care provider to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccinations, fill out a Certificate of Exemption form signed by the provider, and submit the form to the school or child care. A letter from the provider may take the place of a signed form. Parents and guardians who demonstrate membership in a church or religious body that does not believe in medical treatment do not need a provider's signature on the exemption form.

Per state law (WAC 246-105-060,) all public and private schools and licensed preschools must report the immunization status of students by November 1st each year.

Learn more about school immunization requirements.

People seeking exemptions from one or more vaccines must meet with a licensed health care provider to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccinations, fill out a Certificate of Exemption form signed by the provider, and submit the form to the school or child care. A letter from the provider may take the place of a signed form. Parents and guardians who demonstrate membership in a church or religious body that does not believe in medical treatment do not need a provider's signature on the exemption form.

As of July 2019, families cannot submit a personal/philosophical belief exemption for the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.

Learn more about exemptions from immunization requirements.

Find immunization rates at a King County school (see data dashboard below)

  • Varying percentages of students who are up-to-date by vaccine
  • Percentage of children who are up-to-date, conditional, out of compliance and exempt
  • Common reasons students file exemptions
  • Vaccination trends over time
  • How vaccination coverage varies for each school in a district
  • How public and private schools compare on immunization coverage
  • See also: King County School Immunization Assessment Report, 2012-18 (PDF)

Vaccine clinics

Visit your health care provider to get the vaccines your child needs!

Find a health care provider.

Notices

Do you have any questions?

Contact Public Health's Immunization Program at vaccineinfo@kingcounty.gov or 206-296-4774.


Vaccines that aren't required for school are important too! Adolescents need HPV vaccine to prevent cancer and meningococcal vaccine to prevent meningitis.

Make sure your family's up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.


In 2019, Washington State passed a law removing personal/philosophical exemptions for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The law also requires employees and volunteers at licensed childcare centers to provide immunization records showing they've received the MMR vaccine or have proof of immunity.

Learn more about the law.