Vaccination Requirements for Kindergarteners

By Leslie Norber — August 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

For students entering kindergarten, preparing for the new school year can involve more than buying school supplies. Many states require vaccinations as prerequisites for children entering kindergarten. Vaccination is a key component in promoting public health by reducing the spread of communicable diseases.

The EPE Research Center conducted an analysis of state vaccination policy data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases for seven immunizations commonly required for entry into kindergarten. These vaccinations include: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis—also known as whooping cough (DtaP); hepatitis A; hepatitis B; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); measles (dose 2); polio; and varicella—also known as chickenpox. Most states (44) require five or six shots. Only three states—Nevada, Texas, and Utah—require all seven vaccinations for incoming kindergarteners.

Number of Vaccines Required for Kindergarteners

The EPE analysis included vaccines for which states have requirements, even if states also permit individual exemptions to those requirements. For example, state law may allow students to claim exemption based on religious or philosophical beliefs, or to forgo immunizations with a simple waiver from a guardian. Students may be also be exempt if they provide documentation showing that immunizations would aggravate an existing disease or condition. The results of a study published in the Oct. 11, 2006, issue ofJournal of the American Medical Association have led some experts to believe that lenient exemption policies pose a considerable threat to public health.

Regardless of the provisions of state law, the enforcement of these policies is largely the responsibility of local districts. Enforcement can be complicated by parental non-compliance and incomplete or dated vaccination records. (“Vaccination Policies Fall on Schools’ Shoulders,” Jan. 24, 2007.) Also, parents’ inability to procure vaccinations due to increased cost may pose further problems, according to a study published in the Aug. 8, 2007, issue ofJournal of the American Medical Association.

For more information on childhood well-being indicators and policies related to kindergarten, please see Quality Counts 2007: From Cradle to Career and EPE’s Education Counts database.

Related Tags:


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week