State Law & Vaccine Requirements

Please select a state
Protect Your Right to Make Vaccine Choices
Make A Difference

NVIC is 100% funded by donations.
 

Connect with Us!

Massachusetts State Vaccine Requirements

Updated August 03, 2023


TAKE ACTION TODAY! - Multiple bills have been introduced into state legislatures that could affect vaccine exemptions. Visit www.NVICadvocacy.org to learn about what is happening in your state and what you can do to help. Thank you for standing up for freedom!
medical exemption
religious exemption

Quick Facts and Resources for Massachusetts Residents

Quick Fact: No child whose parent or guardian states in writing that vaccination or immunization conflicts with his sincere religious beliefs shall be required to present an immunization certificate in order to be admitted to school. 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.​​

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.

PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE XII. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 76. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

ALM GL ch. 76, § 15. Vaccination and Immunization; Exceptions by Reason of Physical Condition or Religious Belief.

No child shall, except as hereinafter provided, be admitted to school except upon presentation of a physician's certificate that the child has been successfully immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis and such other communicable diseases as may be specified from time to time by the department of public health.

A child shall be admitted to school upon certification by a physician that he has personally examined such child and that in his opinion the physical condition of the child is such that his health would be endangered by such vaccination or by any of such immunizations. Such certification shall be submitted at the beginning of each school year to the physician in charge of the school health program. If the physician in charge of the school health program does not agree with the opinion of the child's physician, the matter shall be referred to the department of public health, whose decision will be final.

In the absence of an emergency or epidemic of disease declared by the department of public health, no child whose parent or guardian states in writing that vaccination or immunization conflicts with his sincere religious beliefs shall be required to present said physician's certificate in order to be admitted to school. 


PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT 
TITLE XII. EDUCATION 
CHAPTER 76. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

ALM GL ch. 76, § 15C. Immunization of College Health Science Students

No full-time student under thirty years of age or any full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate students in a health science who is in contact with patients shall, except as hereinafter provided, be registered at an institution of higher education except upon presentation of a medical certificate that such student has been immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and diphtheria; provided, however, that a student may be registered at such institution upon certification made, in writing, by a physician who has personally examined such student and in whose opinion the physical condition of such student is such that his health would be endangered by any such immunization; and provided, further, that students who have attended an elementary or secondary school in the commonwealth may submit a copy of their school immunization record, indicating receipt of the above required immunizations, in lieu of such certificate; and provided, further, that unimmunized students may be registered on the condition that the required immunizations be obtained within ten days of registration.

In the absence of an emergency or epidemic of disease declared by the department of public health, no student who states in writing that such immunization would conflict with his religious beliefs shall be required to present such medical certificate in order to be admitted to such institution.
 

PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE XVI. PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER 111. PUBLIC HEALTH
VACCINATION

ALM GL ch. 111, § 183 (2007)

§ 183. Exemptions.

Any person over eighteen presenting a certificate, signed by the register of a probate court, that he is under guardianship shall not be subject to section one hundred and eighty-one; and any child presenting a certificate, signed by a registered physician designated by the parent or guardian, that the physician has at the time of giving the certificate personally examined the child and that he is of the opinion that the physical condition of the child is such that his health will be endangered by vaccination, shall not, while such condition continues, be subject to the two preceding sections.

 

CODE OF MASSACHUSETTS REGULATIONS
TITLE 105: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER 220.000: IMMUNIZATION OF STUDENTS BEFORE ADMISSION TO SCHOOL

105 CMR 220.400: Definitions

Certificate of Immunization means either: (a) a form or letter signed and dated by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or designee which specifies the month and year of administration and the type/name of the vaccine(s) administered to the student; or (b) a dated report from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System which specifies the month and year of administration and the type/name of the vaccine(s) administered to the student.

Department means the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Elementary School means a program offered by a public or private school system on a regular basis, which provides care and custody, separate from parents, and typically includes grades kindergarten through 4, 5 or 6; also referred to as grade school or grammar school. 

High School means a program offered by a public or private school system on a regular basis, which provides care and custody separate from parents, and typically includes grades 9 through 12.

Middle School means a program offered by a public or private school system on a regular basis, which provides care and custody separate from parents, and typically includes grades 5 through 7 or 8.

Postsecondary Institution means a college, university, institute, or other school of higher education (education beyond the secondary level; especially education provided by a college or university), whether accredited or not, that is enrolling students.

Preschool means a program offered by a public or private school system on a regular basis, whether known as day care, pre-school or other term, which provides care and custody during all or part of the day, separate from parents, for pre-kindergarten children and is not regulated by the Department of Early Education and Care.

Secondary School means a middle school or high school.

Student means any individual attending, or enrolled or registered to attend, preschool, elementary school, secondary school, or a postsecondary institution, as defined in 105 CMR 220.400, provided the educational program is offered in Massachusetts. Student also includes any individual from another country attending or visiting classes or educational programs as part of an academic visitation or exchange program.

CMR 220.500: Immunization Requirements for Preschool, Elementary, Middle and High School Students 

(A) No student shall attend a preschool, elementary school or secondary school program without a certificate of immunization documenting that the child has been successfully immunized in accordance with current Department required immunization schedules, developed in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or any successor committee serving a comparable function.

(B)  Immunizations. (Reserved).

(C)  The requirements in 105 CMR 220.500(A) shall not apply where: (1) the student, or the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor, provides written documentation that he or she meets the standards for medical or religious exemption set forth in M.G.L. c. 76, § 15; (2) the student, or the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor, provides appropriate documentation, including a copy of a school immunization record, indicating receipt of the required immunizations; or (3)  the student provides written documentation that he or she is immune, as defined in Department guidelines.

105 CMR 220.600: Immunization Requirements for Postsecondary Students 

(A) No student shall attend a postsecondary institution without a certification of immunization documenting that the student has been successfully immunized in accordance with required Department immunization schedules developed in accordance with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or any successor committee serving a comparable function.

(B)  The following students are subject to the requirements of 105 CMR 220.600(A): (1) full-time undergraduate and graduate students; (2) part-time undergraduate and graduate students in a health science program who may be in contact with patients; and (3) full or part-time student attending a postsecondary institution in Massachusetts while on a student or other visa, including a student attending or visiting classes or programs as part of an  academic visitation or exchange program.

(C) Immunizations. (Reserved).

(D) The requirements of 105 CMR 220.600 shall not apply where the student meets one of the criteria set forth in 105 CMR 220.500(C);

(E) Whenever possible, such immunizations are to be obtained prior to enrollment or registration.  However, students subject to 105 CMR 220.600 may be enrolled or registered provided that the required immunizations are obtained within 30 days of registration and provided, further, that the postsecondary institution has policies and procedures for ascertaining which students have failed to obtain the necessary immunizations within 30 days, and for taking appropriate follow up action to ensure compliance with 105 CMR 220.000.

220.700: Meningococcal Vaccine Requirement for Students at Secondary and Postsecondary Schools which Provide or License Housing

(A) No newly enrolled full-time student attending a secondary school or postsecondary institution who will be living in a dormitory or comparable congregate living arrangement licensed or approved by the secondary school or postsecondary institution may be registered without a certificate of immunization documenting that the student has received the meningococcal  vaccine.  No student shall begin classes without this certificate, except as provided in 105 CMR 220.700(C).     

 (B)  Each secondary school and postsecondary institution, at the time of initial enrollment, shall provide each newly enrolled full-time student who will be living in a dormitory or comparable congregate living arrangement licensed or approved by that secondary school or postsecondary institution with detailed information on the risks associated with meningococcal disease and the availability and effectiveness of vaccines against the disease, if he or she is 18 years of age or older, or to the student's parents or guardian, if the student is a minor.

(C)  A student may register and begin classes without a certificate of immunization against meningococcal disease in the following situations: (1) the student, or the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor, provides written certification from a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who has personally examined the student that the student's health would be endangered by the immunization; (2)  the student, or the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor, states in writing, in the absence of an emergency or disease epidemic, that immunization would violate his or her religious beliefs; or (3) the student, or the student's parent or guardian if the student is a minor, signs a waiver approved by the Department stating that the student has received information about the risks and dangers of meningococcal disease, has reviewed the information provided and has elected to decline the vaccine.

(D) Whenever possible, the student must obtain the required immunization prior to registration. However, a student subject to 105 CMR 220.700 may be registered without a certificate of immunization, provided that the student supplies a certificate of immunization within 30 days of registration and provided, further, that the secondary school or postsecondary institution has policies and procedures for ascertaining which students have failed to provide the required certification within 30 days and for taking appropriate follow up action to ensure compliance with 105 CMR 220.700.

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.

Mass. Gen. Laws §112:12F Emergency Treatment of Minors

No health care provider, as defined in section 1 of chapter 111 or hospital shall be held liable for damages for failure to obtain consent of a parent, legal guardian, or other person having custody or control of a minor child, or of the spouse of a patient, to emergency examination and treatment, including blood transfusions, when delay in treatment will endanger the life, limb, or mental well-being of the patient, or for the prevention of HIV for sexually active minors.

Any minor may give consent to his medical or dental care at the time such care is sought if (i) he is married, widowed, divorced; or (ii) he is the parent of a child, in which case he may also give consent to medical or dental care of the child; or (iii) he is a member of any of the armed forces; or (iv) she is pregnant or believes herself to be pregnant; or (v) he is living separate and apart from his parent or legal guardian, and is managing his own financial affairs; or (vi) he reasonably believes himself to be at risk of exposure due to sexual activity or to be suffering from or to have come in contact with any disease defined as dangerous to the public health pursuant to section six of chapter one hundred and eleven; provided, however, that such minor may only consent to care which relates to the diagnosis or treatment of such disease, or prevention of HIV if the minor is sexually active.

 Consent shall not be granted under subparagraphs (ii) through (vi), inclusive, for abortion or sterilization.

 Consent given under this section shall not be subject to later disaffirmance because of minority. The consent of the parent or legal guardian shall not be required to authorize such care and, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, such parent or legal guardian shall not be liable for the payment for any care rendered pursuant to this section unless such parent or legal guardian has expressly agreed to pay for such care.

No health care provider, as defined in section 1 of chapter 111, nor any hospital, clinic or infirmary shall be liable, civilly and criminally, for not obtaining the consent of the parent or legal guardian to render medical or dental care to a minor, if, at the time such care was rendered, such person or facility: (i) relied in good faith upon the representations of such minor that he is legally able to consent to such treatment under this section; or (ii) relied in good faith upon the representations of such minor that he is over eighteen years of age.

All information and records kept in connection with the medical or dental care of a minor who consents thereto in accordance with this section shall be confidential between the minor and the physician or dentist, and shall not be released except upon the written consent of the minor or a proper judicial order. When the physician or dentist attending a minor reasonably believes the condition of said minor to be so serious that his life or limb is endangered, the physician or dentist shall notify the parents, legal guardian or foster parents of said condition and shall inform the minor of said notification.


Opens in new tab, window
Opens an external site
Opens an external site in new tab, window