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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Topic: School & Daycare Vaccination; Requirements & Exemption Information

Daycare and School VaccinationsQ: Can a school tell a parent to keep their partially vaccinated/unvaccinated child home from school?

A: In most state vaccine laws there is a provision that, in the event of an outbreak of a disease for which your child has not been vaccinated, you must keep your child at home until a certain amount of time has passed. This could be several weeks or more.

Q:  Do private schools and daycares have to honor the vaccine exemptions that are permitted by state law?

A: No, private educational and childcare institutions including daycare, preschools, elementary through high schools, vocational schools and colleges do not necessarily have to honor the non-medical exemptions permitted by state laws and honored by public schools funded by tax dollars.

The first step in determining whether the private educational institution will accept non-medical exemptions is to request a copy of their health policy and procedures relating to vaccination requirements. Often, private educational institutions that receive funding from the state will accept students with non-medical exemptions but this is not always the case, particularly if the course of study involves medical education programs such as nursing, dentistry or other health fields. It is important to check your states exemption laws and how they apply to these institutions. For more information, be sure to visit our State Law & Vaccine Requirements page for a complete list of states and resources for each. To learn more about the types of vaccine requirements in use in the U.S. visit our FAQ: Vaccine Exemption Requirements.

Q: I object on religious grounds to use of vaccines that were grown on cell lines derived from aborted fetal material. Must our Catholic school accept our religious exemption for these vaccines?

A: Private schools that do not receive government funding, including religious institutions, do not have to accept non-medical waivers. Some Catholic schools do not accept exemptions based on religion even for vaccines that were developed using fetal cell lines. The policy of the specific school is often set by the local Diocese. As an official matter, the Vatican has ruled that use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines is not a basis for a church-based policy requiring use of a religious waiver to vaccination.

However, in Catholic canon, there is language which pertains to the duty of every human being to "always obey the certain judgment of his conscience." If you are Catholic, you may want to discuss this issue with a priest.

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