A healthy school setting gives all students the best chance to learn and grow. Vaccines are very important to this effort. They protect children from getting and spreading diseases that can make them very sick. For this reason, we require children to receive vaccines for certain diseases before starting their year of child care, public school or private school.
View a chart that shows the vaccines your child needs to start each school year:
Vaccine requirements are for all children 2 months to 18 years old who go to child care, public school or private school. The number of vaccine doses your child needs may vary by age and previous vaccine doses received. Your child may need additional vaccines or vaccine doses if they have certain health conditions. Talk to your child’s health care provider for more information.
Why Your Child Needs to be Vaccinated
Public Health Law requires students to get certain vaccines in order to attend child care or school. Schools with students who have not received their vaccines are more likely to experience a disease outbreak than other schools.
For this reason, your child will not be allowed to go to school if they have not received the required vaccines for the school year.
What Happens if your Child is Missing Required Vaccines
Your child’s school will give you notice if they are missing any required vaccines. The notice will tell you how many days you have to get your child vaccinated. If your child is not vaccinated before the final day, they will be excluded from attending school.
To allow your child to return to school, show your child’s school a vaccine record proving that they have received the required vaccines.
If your child is not yet immunized against all required diseases, there are a few situations in which they may still be allowed to attend school.
Some vaccine doses need to be taken at specific time intervals. For example, your child may be given a vaccine and told to wait one month before receiving a second vaccine. Your child will still be allowed to attend school during the waiting period if:
- your child has received the first dose of each school-required vaccine, and
- you are told by a medical provider to wait for the follow-up doses.
Vaccines are proven to be very safe. Read more about vaccine safety. However, if your child has a specific health condition where a vaccine may be harmful, have your child’s doctor fill out this medical exemption form.
- The form must be filled out by a doctor with an M.D.
- Bring the completed form to your school.
- The form will be reviewed, and we will let you know if the request has been approved.
- Your child will be allowed to attend school during the approval process.
- Requests must be reapproved each year.
You may apply to opt your child out of the vaccine requirement if you believe vaccines are against your religious values. The belief must be religious in its nature. You will not be approved for personal, moral, secular, or scientific beliefs.
- Write a letter that explains the reason for your religious objection to vaccines.
- A letter stating simply that you have a religious objection without any reason(s) will be rejected.
- Make sure to also describe if you object to all vaccines, or only some vaccines, and why.
- A form or letter printed from the internet will not be accepted.
- The letter must be in your own words. A letter from a lawyer or religious figure will not be accepted.
- Bring the letter to your school
- Your child will be allowed to attend school during the review process.
- You will be contacted if your request has been approved or denied.
- If your request has been denied, you may appeal the denial. To appeal, speak to the Health Director at your Borough Field Support Center within ten school days of the denial.
- Your child will be allowed to attend school during the appeal process.
- If your appeal is denied, you may appeal again to the NY State Commissioner of Education within 30 days of the denial.
- Your child will not be allowed to attend school during the second appeal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I go to get my child vaccinated?
We suggest that students receive their vaccines from their health care provider. If this is not possible, the Department of Health has one walk-in immunization clinic. Learn more about Department of Health Immunization Clinics.
How will my school know my child is vaccinated?
There are a few ways that parents can give schools their child’s vaccine record. You can give your school any one of the following:
- a new admission exam form (CH-205) completed by a doctor or nurse practitioner; or
School is about to start, but my child hasn’t had all of his/her vaccines yet. What do I do?
If your child does not have all required vaccines, they may be able to start school with the first or first few dose(s) of the required vaccines. They must then receive the remaining doses based on an official schedule. Talk to your health care provider about when your child should come in to receive the remaining doses.
Do I have to do anything else before my child starts school?
Yes! There are a few other things you should do before your child starts school.
- Is your child starting school for the first time?
- Take your child to a health care provider to get a physical examination. Bring the physical examination form (CH-205) to the visit.
- All students entering New York City public or private schools or child care (including universal pre-K classes) for the first time should submit the physical examination form by July 13, 2018.
- Does your child have a chronic condition?
- The medication administration form (MAF) allows your child to take prescribed medicine at school. Find out how your child can benefit from a MAF.
- While medication administration forms are accepted on a rolling basis, we encourage you to submit them by July 13, 2018.
- This makes sure there's no break in access to your child's medication.
- Keep your child healthy at school. Have them take part in your school’s free allergy programs, asthma programs, diabetes programs, or other health services for their condition.
Find Out More
My child has already had the chicken pox. Do they still need to get the chicken pox vaccine?
Most children who have had chicken pox are immune to the disease for the rest of their lives. If your child already had the chicken pox, it is likely that they will not get chicken pox a second time. For this reason, your child may be allowed to opt-out of the chicken pox vaccine if they have been previously diagnosed with chicken pox by a doctor provider.
To apply to opt your child out of taking the chicken pox vaccine, ask your child’s doctor to fill out the Review of Serology or Documentation of Varicella Disease form. Bring the completed form to your school. Your school will review the form, and let you know if the opt-out request has been approved. Your child will be allowed to attend school during the approval process. Note that if your child is approved to opt-out of the small pox vaccine, they will still need to receive all other school required vaccinations.
My child took a blood test and is immune to Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, Hepatitis B, or Polio. Do they still need to get that vaccine?
If you think your child may be immune to measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis B and/or polio, your child can take a blood test to check for immunity. Bring your child to a health care provider to take the blood test. If the blood test shows your child is immune for any of the diseases listed above, your child does not need to get a vaccine for that particular disease.
To apply to opt-out of the measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, hepatitis b, or polio vaccine, have your health care provider fill out a Review of Serology, or Documentation of Varicella Disease form. Bring the completed form to your school. Your school will review the form, and let you know if the opt-out request has been approved. Your child will be allowed to attend school during the approval process. Note that if your child is approved to opt-out of a vaccine for a specific disease, they will still need to receive all other school required vaccinations.
What happens if there is a disease outbreak in school and my child has not received the vaccination for that disease?
Your child may be excluded from school for at least one incubation period after the last student at school has caught the disease. An incubation period is the time between an infection and when the signs and symptoms of the disease start to appear.
For example: a student at your child’s school gets the measles. If your child has not received a measles vaccine, they will be excluded from school during the outbreak, and for 18 days after the start of the last measles case at school.
What is the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR)?
The CIR is a filing system that keeps records of people vaccinated in New York City. The CIR holds vaccine records of children who are 18 and younger, and consenting adults who are 19 and older.
- Check your child’s vaccine record online if you have a New York City ID (IDNYC).
- If you do not have an IDNYC, mail or fax this Immunization Record Request with a copy of a valid photo ID.
- If you have any questions, call CIR at 347-396-2400.
You can show the CIR Record to your child’s school to prove that they have met school vaccine requirements.
Information for Providers
Please review Immunization Requirements for Child Care and New School Entrants.