Rhode Island State Vaccine Requirements
Posted Date: July 07, 2021
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Quick Facts and Resources for Rhode Island Residents
Quick Fact: A parent, guardian or pupil (if over 18 years of age) completes and signs the “Religious Immunization Exemption Certificate” attesting that immunization is contrary to their religious beliefs. Medical exemptions are also allowed.
Other Resources: Many vaccination and exemption information links are date specific. If the links below have expired, click on the state's department of health, or immunization program link provided below, as they are likely to provide links to updated information. The General Information link leads to the overview page provided by the state at the time of this webpage's update and may also be helpful. Please email NVIC with broken link information.
K-12 School Information
Other State Resources
The information contained on NVIC's web pages is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be medical or legal advice. Those seeking medical or legal advice should obtain the services of a competent attorney, physician or qualified health care professional. Although NVIC continually updates our website, state laws and rules change frequently and consumers are ultimately responsible for verifying their state's vaccination and exemption laws and requirements.
TITLE 16. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 38. OFFENSES PERTAINING TO SCHOOLS
R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-38-2
§ 16-38-2. Immunization
(a) Every person upon entering any public or private school including any college or university in this state as a pupil shall furnish to the administrative head of the school evidence that the person has been immunized against any diseases that may from time to time be prescribed by regulation of the director of health and tested for tuberculosis, or a certificate from a licensed physician stating that the person is not a fit subject for immunization for medical reasons, or a certificate signed by the pupil, if over eighteen (18) years of age, or by the parent or guardian stating that immunization and/or testing for communicable diseases is contrary to that person's religious beliefs. It shall be the responsibility of the administrative head of the school to secure compliance with these regulations.
(b) Every child more than twenty-four (24) months of age, resident in the state of Rhode Island, shall be eligible to receive the immunization against meningococcal disease. The Department of Health shall include meningococcal vaccine in the department's immunization program, established by § 23-1-44.
TITLE 23 - Health and Safety
Chapter 1. Department of Health
R.I. Gen. § 23-1-1. General functions of department.
The department of health shall take cognizance of the interests of life and health among the peoples of the state; shall make investigations into the causes of disease, the prevalence of epidemics and endemics among the people, the sources of mortality, the effect of localities, employments and all other conditions and circumstances on the public health, and do all in its power to ascertain the causes and the best means for the prevention and control of diseases or conditions detrimental to the public health, and adopt proper and expedient measures to prevent and control diseases and conditions detrimental to the public health in the state. It shall publish and circulate, from time to time, information that the director may deem to be important and useful for diffusion among the people of the state, and shall investigate and give advice in relation to those subjects relating to public health that may be referred to it by the general assembly or by the governor when the general assembly is not in session, or when requested by any city or town. The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations that it deems necessary, not inconsistent with law, to carry out the purposes of this section; provided, however, that the department shall not require all nonprofit volunteer ambulance, rescue service, and volunteer fire departments to have two (2) or more certified emergency medical technicians manning ambulances or rescue vehicles.
§ 23-1-18. Power to provide rules and regulations in specific areas.
Without limiting the generality of § 23-1-17, the rules and regulations relating to sanitation and health provided for by § 23-1-17 may include:
(9) Minimum standards for immunization and testing for communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, tuberculosis, of employees, children, and students at any child day-care center, family day-care home, private nursery school, any other regular program providing educational services to preschool-aged children, public or private school, college, or university.
(10) Provisions requiring the reporting of immunization status and any other relevant information that the director determines appropriate for persons under the age of eighteen (18) years for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a childhood immunization registry, provided however, that all personally identifiable information obtained pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 37.3 of title 5.
§ 23-1-44. Routine childhood and adult immunization vaccines.
(a) The department of health shall include in the department's immunization program those vaccines for routine childhood immunization as recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and for adult influenza immunization as recommended by the ACIP, to the extent permitted by available funds. The childhood immunization program includes administrative and quality assurance services and KIDSNET, a confidential, computerized child health information system that is used to manage statewide immunizations, as well as other public health preventive services, for all children in Rhode Island from birth through age 18.
(b) The director of the department of health shall appoint an advisory committee that will be convened after the ACIP makes a recommendation regarding adult immunization. The committee will review the ACIP recommendations for the state, assess the vaccine cost and feasibility, and advise the director of health and the office of the health insurance commissioner regarding insurers and providers acting on the ACIP adult immunization recommendation. All recommendations will be posted on the department of health website. The advisory committee membership shall include, but not be limited to, a primary care provider, pharmacist, representatives of the nursing home industry, the home health care industry and major insurers.
§ 23-1-45. Immunization account.
(a) There is created within the general fund a restricted receipt account to be known as the "childhood immunization account". All money in the account shall be utilized by the department of health to effectuate the provisions of § 23-1-44 that relate to the childhood immunization program. All money received pursuant to §§ 23-1-46 and 23-1-47 for the childhood immunization program shall be deposited in the childhood immunization account. Funding dedicated exclusively to effectuate the provisions of § 23-1-44 and this subsection received by the department of health from sources other than those identified in §§ 23-1-46 and 23-1-47 may also be deposited in the childhood immunization account. Up to 15% of the annual revenues from this account may be used to support costs associated with childhood immunization program administrative and quality assurance services and KIDSNET. The general treasurer is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders on the account upon receipt of properly authenticated vouchers from the department of health.
(b) There is created within the general fund a restricted receipt account to be known as the "pandemic medications and equipment account" for the purposes of funding pandemic medications and equipment. There shall be an expenditure in FY 2007 not to exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000) for pandemic influenza medications and equipment. Funding dedicated exclusively to effectuate the provisions of this subsection and received by the department of health from sources other than those identified in §§ 23-1-45, 23-1-46 and 23-1-47 may also be deposited in the pandemic medications and equipment account. The general treasurer is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders on the account upon receipt of properly authenticated vouchers from the department of health.
(c) There is created within the general fund a restricted receipt account to be known as the "adult immunization account". All funds in the account shall be utilized by the department of health to effectuate the provisions of § 23-1-44 that relate to the adult immunization program. All funds received for adult immunization programs pursuant to §§ 23-1-46 and 23-1-47 shall be deposited in the adult immunization account. Funding dedicated exclusively to effectuate the provisions of this subsection and received by the department of health from sources other than those identified in §§ 23-1-46 and 23-1-47 may also be deposited in the adult immunization account. The general treasurer is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders on the account upon receipt of properly authenticated vouchers from the department of health.
§ 23-1-46. Insurers.
(a) Beginning January 1, 2016, a portion of the amount collected pursuant to § 42-7.4-3, up to the actual amount expended or projected to be expended by the state for vaccines for children that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and/or mandated by state law, less the federal share determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less any amount collected in excess of the prior year's funding requirement as indicated in subsection (b) (the "child immunization funding requirement") shall be deposited into the "childhood immunization account" described in § 23-1-45(a). These funds shall be used solely for the purposes of the "childhood immunization programs" described in § 23-1-44, and no other. Beginning January 1, 2016, a portion of the amount collected from the healthcare services funding method described in § 42-7.4-3, up to the actual amount expended or projected to be expended by the state for adult immunizations recommended by ACIP and/or mandated by state law, less the federal share determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less any amount collected in excess of the prior year's funding requirement as indicated in subsection (b) (the "adult immunization funding requirement") shall be deposited into the "adult immunization account" described in § 23-1-45(c). These funds shall be used solely for the purposes of the "adult immunization programs" described in § 23-1-44 and no other.
(b) The department of health shall submit to the general assembly an annual report on the immunization programs and costs related to the programs, on or before February 1 of each year.
Any funds collected in excess of funds needed to carry-out ACIP recommendations, taking into account a reasonable annual carry forward surplus, shall be deducted from the subsequent year's funding requirements.
§ 23-1-47. Health care providers – Immunities.
No health care provider, as defined in § 5-37.3-3(4), acting in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, including, without limitation, any health care provider who administers any immunization vaccine pursuant to this chapter, shall be liable to any person who experiences or purports to experience adverse effects arising from the immunization or attendant procedures; provided, however, that informed consent is obtained. Nothing in this chapter shall exempt from liability for gross negligence any individual or public or private agency participating in an authorized mass immunization project, nor shall the provisions of this chapter exempt any drug manufacturer from any liability, regardless of the degree of negligence for any drug or vaccine used in the projects.
TITLE 23 - Health and Safety
Chapter 6. Prevention and Suppression of Contagious Diseases
§ 23-6-3. Vaccinations provided by cities or towns.
The city or town councils in the several cities or towns shall provide annually for the gratuitous vaccination of the inhabitants of the several cities or towns.
§ 23-6-4. Employment of physicians for vaccinations.
The city or town councils shall contract with and provide a suitable number of physicians to vaccinate as provided in § 23-6-3 and order the city or town treasurers of the several cities or towns respectively to pay them the compensation that may be previously agreed upon; and the physicians shall give due and reasonable notice of the time and place of meeting for the purpose of vaccination.
§ 23-6-5. Record of vaccinations.
The physicians contracted with in § 23-6-4, as soon after fulfilling their contract as may be convenient, shall deposit in the city or town clerk's office a book in which they have respectively recorded, in a fair and legible hand, the name and age of every person they have vaccinated as provided in § 23-6-4 and also any other remarks and observations they may deem useful.
§ 23-6-6. Preservation of records.
City and town clerks shall safely keep the books described in § 23-6-5 for the accommodation of those physicians and others, without any compensation, and deliver them over to their successors; but they may charge lawful fees for searching them or for any copies.
§ 23-6-7. Investigation and suppression of poliomyelitis.
The department of health is authorized and directed to investigate any conditions associated with any case or suspected case of, or the spread of, the disease known as anterior poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis in this state and, as far as possible, to aid in the suppression of that disease.
TITLE 23 - Health and Safety
CHAPTER 23-17.19. Immunization In Long Term Care Facilities
§ 23-17.19-1. Short title.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Long-Term Care Resident and Employee Immunization Act".
§ 23-17.19-2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter have the meanings given to them in this section unless the content clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) "Department" means the department of health;
(2) "Employee" means an individual employed, whether directly, by the contract with another entity or as an independent contractor, by a long-term care nursing facility on a part-time or full-time basis;
(3) "Long-term care facility or facility" means a health care facility as defined in chapter 17 of this title, which provides long-term health care.
§ 23-17.19-3. Long-term care resident and employee immunization.
Except as provided in § 23-17.19-6, every facility in this state shall request that residents and employees be immunized for influenza virus and pneumococcal disease in accordance with this chapter.
§ 23-17.19-4. Resident immunization.
(a) Notice to resident. Upon admission, the facility shall notify the resident and legal guardian of the immunization requirements of this chapter and request that the resident agree to be immunized against influenza virus and pneumococcal disease.
(b) Records and immunizations. Every facility shall document the annual immunization against influenza virus and immunization against pneumococcal disease for each resident which includes written evidence from a health care provider indicating the date and location the vaccine was administered. Upon finding that a resident is lacking the immunization or the facility or individual is unable to provide documentation that the individual has received the appropriate immunization, the facility shall make available the immunization. Immunization and the documentation of the immunization shall take place no later than November 30 of each year.
(c) Other immunizations. An individual who becomes a resident after November 30 and prior to April 1 of the following year shall have his or her status for influenza and pneumococcal immunization determined by the facility, and, if found to be deficient, the facility shall make available the necessary immunizations.
§ 23-17.19-5. Employee immunization.
(a) Notice to employees. Every facility shall notify every employee of the immunization requirements of this chapter and request that the employee agree to be immunized against influenza virus.
(b) Records and immunizations. The facility shall require documentation of annual immunization against influenza virus for each employee, which includes written evidence from a health care provider indicating the date and location the vaccine was administered. Upon finding that an employee is lacking the immunization or the facility or individual is unable to provide documentation that the individual has received the appropriate immunization, the facility shall make available the immunization. Immunization and the documentation of the immunization shall take place no later than November 30 of each year.
(c) Other immunizations. An individual who is newly employed as an employee and after November 30 and prior to April 1 shall have his status for influenza determined by the facility, and, if found to be deficient, the facility shall make available the necessary immunization.
(d) Immunization authorized. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immunization against pneumococcal disease to employees.
§ 23-17.19-6. Exceptions.
No resident or employee shall be required to receive either the influenza or pneumococcal vaccine if any of the following apply:
(1) The vaccine is contraindicated;
(2) It is against his or her religious beliefs; or
(3) The resident or the resident's legal guardian refuses the vaccine after being fully informed of the health risks of that action.
§ 23-17.19-7. Regulations.
(a) Promulgation by department. The department shall promulgate regulation relating to the immunization requirements of this chapter, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(b) Educational materials. The department, in conjunction with the department of elderly affairs, shall make available educational and informational materials to all facilities with respect to vaccination against influenza virus and pneumococcal disease.
(c) Report to general assembly. Three (3) years from July 13, 2000, the department shall report to the general assembly on the number of outbreaks in facilities each year due to influenza virus and pneumococcal disease. The number of hospitalizations of facility residents each year due to influenza virus, pneumococcal disease, and complications of those must be reported as well.
TITLE 23 - Health and Safety
Chapter 23-28.37. Vaccination of Firefighters to Prevent Hepatitis B
§ 23-28.37-1. Findings.
The general assembly finds and declares that, by reason of their employment, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are required to work in the midst of and are subject to exposure to infectious diseases, especially hepatitis B; that the U.S. center for disease control has estimated that two hundred thousand (200,000) persons in the U.S. are infected each year with hepatitis B, and of that number twenty-five percent (25%) become ill, ten thousand (10,000) require hospitalization, and five thousand (5,000) die; that it is estimated that there are from five hundred thousand (500,000) to one million (1,000,000) infectious hepatitis B carriers in the U.S. of which up to eighty percent (80%) of chronic carriers are unaware that they have hepatitis B and are capable of spreading it; that there is no known cure for hepatitis B, and for firefighters, there is no way of knowing who among those being helped at an accident or a fire is a hepatitis B carrier. The general assembly further finds and declares that all the aforementioned conditions exist and arise out of or in the course of employment.
§ 23-28.37-2. Definitions.
The following terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings herein described:
(1) "Emergency medical technician" means a person licensed pursuant to chapter 4.1 of this title to provide emergency medical services.
(2) "Fire department" means service groups (paid or volunteer) that are organized and trained for the prevention and control of loss of life and property from fire or other emergency.
(3) "Firefighter" means an individual who is assigned to firefighting activity and is required to respond to alarms and perform emergency action at the location of a fire, hazardous materials, or other emergency incident.
§ 23-28.37-3. Vaccination.
Any active firefighter or emergency medical technician, who may be exposed to hepatitis B during a period while the firefighter or emergency medical technician is in the service of the fire department, shall be vaccinated at the request of the firefighter or emergency medical technician for protection against hepatitis B.
§ 23-28.37-4. Administration of program.
The department of health shall conduct a series of clinics in the various geographic areas of the state for the purpose of administering the vaccination against hepatitis B. The department of health shall coordinate the scheduling and location of the vaccination clinics with the fire departments within the geographic areas.
TITLE 42. STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 42-72.1. LICENSING AND MONITORING OF CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND CHILD-PLACING AGENCIES
R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-72.1-3
§ 42-72.1-3 Powers and scope of activities.
(a) The department shall issue, deny, and revoke licenses for, and monitor the operation of, facilities and programs by child-placing agencies and childcare providers, as defined in § 42-72.1-2 or assess administrative penalties under the provisions of chapter 72.11 of this title relating to licensed childcare centers, family childcare homes, and group family childcare homes.
(b) The department shall adopt, amend, and rescind regulations in accordance with this chapter and implement its provisions. The regulations shall be promulgated and become effective in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, chapter 35 of this title.
(c) The department through its licensing unit shall administer and manage the regulations pertaining to the licensing and monitoring of those agencies, and shall exercise all statutory and administrative powers necessary to carry out its functions.
(d) The administrator shall investigate complaints of noncompliance, and shall take licensing action as required.
(e) Regulations formulated pursuant to the foregoing authority shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:
…(10) Immunization and testing requirements for communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, tuberculosis, of childcare providers and children at any child day-care center or family day-care home as is specified in regulations promulgated by the director of the department of health. Notwithstanding the foregoing, all licensing and monitoring authority shall remain with the department of children, youth and families.