State Law & Vaccine Requirements

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District of Columbia State Vaccine Requirements

Updated August 03, 2023


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Quick Facts and Resources for District of Columbia Residents

Quick Fact: Religious exemptions are written statements from individuals and parents/guardians stating to the chief official of the school, that immunization would violate his or her religious beliefs. Medical exemptions are also allowed and written statements by physcians accepted. Daycares are generally defined as schools under D.C. laws governing vaccination requirements and exemptions.

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. 

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 38. EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
SUBTITLE I. PUBLIC EDUCATION -- PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
CHAPTER 5. IMMUNIZATION OF SCHOOL STUDENTS

D.C. Code § 38-501. Definitions (see Title 38, Subtitle I, Chapter 5) 

For the purpose of this chapter:

(1) The term "admit" or the term "admission" means the official enrollment at any level by a school of a student that entitles the student to attend the school regularly, whether full-time or part-time, and to participate fully in all the activities established for a student of his or her age, educational level, or other appropriate classification.

(2) The term "certification of immunization" means written certification by a private physician, his or her representative, or the public health authorities that the student is immunized.

(3) The term "student" means any person who seeks admission to school, or for whom admission to school is sought by a parent or guardian, and who will not have attained the age of 26 years by the start of the school term for which admission is sought.

(4) The term "immunized" or the term "immunization" means initial immunization and any boosters or reimmunization required to maintain immunization against diphtheria, poliomyelitis, tetanus, rubella, measles, and mumps in accordance with the immunization standards issued by the public health authorities pursuant to this chapter.

(5) The term "Mayor" means the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

(6) The term "public health authorities" means the official or officials of the executive branch of the government of the District of Columbia designated by the Mayor pursuant to this chapter.

(7) The term "responsible person" means, in the case of a student under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian of the student, but in the case of a student 18 years of age or older, the student himself or herself.

(8) The term "school" means:

(A) Any public school through the 12th grade operated under the authority of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia;

(B) Any private or parochial school that offers instruction at any level or grade from kindergarten through 12th;

(C) Any private or parochial nursery school or preschool, or any private or parochial day-care facility required to be licensed by the District of Columbia; and

(D) Any college or university created or incorporated by special act of Congress or the Council of the District of Columbia or required to be licensed by the District of Columbia.

D.C. Code § 38-502. Certification of immunization required (see Title 38, Subtitle I, Chapter 5)

No student shall be admitted by a school unless the school has certification of immunization for that student, or unless the student is exempted pursuant to § 38-506.

D.C. Code § 38-503. Immunization standards; list of immunizations (see Title 38, Subtitle I, Chapter 5)  

The Mayor shall, by regulations, specify the immunization standards to be used for compliance with this chapter, and may also, by regulation, revise the list of requested immunizations.

D.C. Code § 38-505. Attendance without certification  (see Title 38, Subtitle I, Chapter 5) 

A school shall permit a student to attend for not more than 20 school days while the school does not have certification of immunization for that student. If immunization requires a series of treatments that cannot be completed within the 20 school days, the student shall be permitted to attend school while the treatments are continuing if, within the 20 school days, the school receives written notification from whomever is administering it that the immunization is in progress.

D.C. Code § 38-506. Exemption from certification (see Title 38, Subtitle I, Chapter 5)

No certification of immunization shall be required for the admission to a school of a student:

(1) For whom the responsible person objects in good faith and in writing, to the chief official of the school, that immunization would violate his or her religious beliefs; or

(2) For whom the school has written certification by a private physician, his or her representative, or the public health authorities that immunization is medically inadvisable.

Below  are state statutes relating to minor consent for this state; however, there may be additional statutes NVIC is unaware of, and readers may need to do additional research and/or obtain additional legal advice. NVIC doesn't provide legal advice and provides the below for informational purposes only. NVIC provides additional resource information in our FAQ on Vaccination in School-Based Health Clinics, should readers have concerns about the vaccination of their child without parental knowledge or consent this school setting.

§ 7–1653.01. Minor consent to vaccination.

(a) An emancipated minor, a minor who is married or previously has been married, an unaccompanied homeless minor, a minor who is or has been pregnant, or a minor who is separated from their parent or legal guardian for whatever reason and is not supported by their parent or guardian may consent to receive a vaccine recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices ("ACIP"), and where receipt of the vaccine is in accordance with ACIP's recommended immunization schedule.

(b)(1) A vaccine provider may accept the consent of a minor not otherwise listed in subsection (a) of this section to receive a vaccine recommended by ACIP in accordance with ACIP's recommended immunization schedule; provided, that the vaccine provider reasonably attempts to obtain consent from the minor's parent or legal guardian either in person, in writing, or by telephone, and there is no objection from the parent or legal guardian. Consent of the parent or legal guardian may be assumed if the vaccine provider cannot notify the parent or legal guardian after at least a reasonable attempt to notify has been made.

(2) Nothing in this section prohibits a minor from seeking a court order to authorize receipt of a vaccine by the minor due to the parent's or legal guardian's objection.
(3) This subsection does not require administration of a vaccine if receipt of the vaccine by the minor is medically contraindicated.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term "vaccine provider" means an entity or person authorized to administer the vaccine being sought.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed or applied to require or excuse noncompliance with any provision of any federal law.

 


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