Pennsylvania State Vaccine Requirements
Quick Facts and Resources for Pennsylvania Residents
Quick Fact: PA State Law states that children need not be immunized if the parent or guardian objects in writing to such immunization on religious grounds. PA Administrative Code also clarifies that children need not be immunized if the parent, guardian or emancipated child objects in writing to the immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief. Medical exemptions are also allowed.
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.
- General Information
- Vaccination Requirements - Request college/university of choice for their Proof of Immunization Compliance, as each institution may use its own form.
- Exemption Information - Request college/university of choice for their Proof of Immunization Compliance, as each institution may use its own form.
- State Healthcare Worker and Patient Vaccination Laws
- State of Pennsylvania Legislature – see applicable statutes and their hyperlinks below. Visit NVIC’s Advocacy Portal for information on legislation introduced impacting vaccine exemption rights.
- Email Subscription to Daily Session and Individual Bill Updates of the Pennsylvania General Assembly
- State of Pennsylvania Department of Health
- State of Pennsylvania Immunization Program
- State of Pennsylvania Vaccine Tracking System – You may also wish to contact your state’s vaccine tracking registry to determine if the ability to opt out is available.
- State of Pennsylvania Proposed Rule-Making – View your state’s registry to learn about proposed rule-making.
TITLE 28. HEALTH AND SAFETY
CHAPTER 23. SCHOOL HEALTH
SUBCHAPTER C. IMMUNIZATION
§ 23.83. Immunization requirements.
(a) Duties of a school director, superintendent, principal or other person in charge of a public, private, parochial or nonpublic school. Each school director, superintendent, principal, or other person in charge of a public, private, parochial or nonpublic school in this Commonwealth, including vocational schools, intermediate units, and special education and home education programs, cyber and charter schools, shall ascertain that a child has been immunized in accordance with the requirements in subsections (b), (c) and (e) prior to admission to school for the first time, under section 1303 of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. § 13-1303a), regarding immunization required; penalty.
(b) Required for attendance. All of the following immunizations are required as a condition of attendance at school in this Commonwealth:
(1) Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Four or more properly-spaced doses administered in a combination form (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) or diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DTP)). If a child has a contraindication to pertussis vaccine, the child shall receive diphtheria—tetanus toxoid vaccine (DT) to complete the vaccination series. The fourth dose shall be administered on or after the 4th birthday.
(2) Poliomyelitis. Four properly-spaced doses of either oral polio vaccine or inactivated polio vaccine, which may be administered as a single antigen vaccine, or in a combination form. The fourth dose shall be administered on or after the 4th birthday and at least 6 months after the previous dose.
(3) Measles (rubeola), mumps and rubella (German measles). One of the following:
(i) Multiple antigens. Two properly-spaced doses of live attenuated measles, mumps, rubella combination vaccine, the first dose administered at 12 months of age or older.
(ii) Single antigens. In the event the antigens were given separately, and not in a combination vaccine, the dosage is as follows:
(A) Two properly-spaced doses of live attenuated measles vaccine, the first dose administered at 12 months of age or older.
(B) One dose of live attenuated rubella vaccine, administered at 12 months of age or older.
(C) Two properly-spaced doses of live attenuated mumps vaccine, administered at 12 months of age or older.
(iii) Evidence of immunity. Evidence of immunity may be shown by a history of measles and rubella immunity proved by laboratory testing by a laboratory with the appropriate certification and a written statement of a history of mumps disease from a physician, certified registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
(4) Hepatitis B. Three properly-spaced doses of hepatitis B vaccine, unless a child receives a vaccine as approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for a two-dose regimen, or a history of hepatitis B immunity proved by laboratory testing. Hepatitis B vaccine may be administered as single antigen vaccine or in a combination form.
(5) Varicella (chickenpox). One of the following:
(i) Varicella vaccine. Two properly-spaced doses of varicella vaccine, the first dose administered at 12 months of age or older. Varicella vaccine may be administered as a single antigen vaccine or in a combination form.
(ii) Evidence of immunity. Evidence of immunity may be shown by one of the following:
(A) Laboratory evidence of immunity or laboratory confirmation of disease.
(B) A written statement of a history of chickenpox disease from a parent, guardian, physician, certified registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
(c) Special requirements for tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine and meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV).
(1) Required for entry into 7th grade. In addition to the immunizations listed in subsection (b), the following immunizations are required at any public, private, parochial or nonpublic school in this Commonwealth, including vocational schools, intermediate units, special education and home education programs, and cyber and charter schools, as a condition of entry for students entering the 7th grade, or, in an ungraded class, for students in the school year that the student is 12 years of age:
(i) Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap). One dose of Tdap in a combination form.
(ii) Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV). One dose of MCV.
(iii) Exclusion. A child who does not have an exemption as permitted by § 23.84 (relating to exemption from immunization) and who does not receive the immunizations as required in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) may be excluded in that school year and each succeeding school year that the child fails to obtain the required immunization.
(2) Required for entry into 12th grade. In addition to the immunizations listed in subsection (b) and this subsection, one dose of MCV is required for entry into 12th grade at any public, private, parochial or nonpublic school in this Commonwealth, including vocational schools, intermediate units, special education and home education programs, and cyber and charter schools, or, in an ungraded class, for students in the school year that the student is 18 years of age, if the child has not received a previous dose on or after the child’s 16th birthday. A dose of MCV received at 16 years of age or older shall count as the 12th grade dose.
(d) Child care group setting. Attendance at a child care group setting located in a public, private or vocational school, or in an intermediate unit, is conditional upon the child’s satisfaction of the immunization requirements in § 27.77 (relating to immunization requirements for children in child care group settings).
(e) Prekindergarten programs, early intervention programs’ early childhood special education classrooms and private academic preschools. Attendance at a prekindergarten program operated by a school district, an early intervention program operated by a contractor or subcontractor including intermediate units, school districts and private vendors, or at private academic preschools is conditional upon the child’s satisfaction of the immunization requirements in § 27.77.
(f) Grace period. A vaccine dose administered within the 4-day period prior to the minimum age for the vaccination or prior to the end of the minimum interval between doses shall be considered a valid dose of the vaccine for purposes of this chapter. A dose administered greater than 4 days prior to minimum age or interval for a dose is invalid for purposes of this regulation and shall be repeated.
§ 23.84. Exemption from immunization.
(a) Medical exemption. Children need not be immunized if a physician or the physician’s designee provides a written statement that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child. When the physician determines that immunization is no longer detrimental to the health of the child, the child shall be immunized according to this subchapter.
(b) Religious exemption. Children need not be immunized if the parent, guardian or emancipated child objects in writing to the immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.
Section 1303. Immunization Required; Penalty.
(a) It shall be the duty of all school directors, superintendents, principals, or other persons in charge of any public, private, parochial, or other school including kindergarten, to ascertain that every child, prior to admission to school for the first time has been immunized, as the Secretary of Health may direct, against such diseases as shall appear on a list to be made and from time to time reviewed by the Advisory Health Board. All certificates of immunization shall be issued in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Health with the sanction and advice of the Advisory Health Board.
(b) Any person who shall fail, neglect, or refuse to comply with, or who shall violate, any of the provisions or requirements of this section, except as hereinafter provided, shall, for every such offense, upon summary conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than five dollars ($5) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100), and in default thereof, to undergo an imprisonment in the jail of the proper county for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days. All such fines shall be paid into the treasury of the school district.
(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of any child deemed to have a medical contraindication which may contraindicate immunization and so certified by a physician. Such certificates may be accepted in lieu of a certificate of immunization.
(d) The provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of any child whose parent or guardian objects in writing to such immunization on religious grounds.
(1303 added Apr. 11, 1974, P.L.258, No.67)
TITLE 28. HEALTH AND SAFETY
CHAPTER 27. COMMUNICABLE AND NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES
SUBCHAPTER C. QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION
COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN CHILDREN AND STAFF ATTENDING SCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE GROUP SETTINGS
§ 27.77. Immunization requirements for children in child care group settings.
(a) Caregiver responsibilities.
(1) Except as exempted in subsection (d), effective March 27, 2002, the caregiver at a child care group setting may not accept or retain a child 2 months of age or older at the setting, for more than 60 days, unless the caregiver has received a written objection to a child being vaccinated on religious grounds from a parent or guardian, or one of the following:(b) Vaccination requirements. Each child enrolled in a child care group setting shall be immunized in accordance with ACIP standards in effect on January 1, 1999, governing the issuance of ACIP recommendations for the immunization of children.(i) For all children not exempt under subsection (d)(1)(ii), an initial written verification from a physician, the Department or a local health department of the dates (month, day and year) the child was administered any vaccines recommended by ACIP. The verification must also specify any vaccination not given due to medical condition of the child and state whether the condition is temporary or permanent. The verification must show compliance with the vaccination requirements in subsection (b).(2) If the caregiver receives a written verification under paragraph (1) explaining that timely vaccination did not occur due to a temporary medical condition, the caregiver shall exclude the child from the child care group setting after an additional 30 days unless the caregiver receives, within that 30-day period, written verification from a physician, the Department or a local health department that the child was vaccinated or that the temporary medical condition still exists. If the caregiver receives a written verification that vaccination has not occurred because the temporary condition persists, the caregiver shall require the presentation of a new verification at 30-day intervals. If a verification is not received as required, the caregiver shall exclude the child from the child care group setting and not readmit the child until the caregiver receives a verification that meets the requirements of this section.
(ii) For all children for whom vaccinations remain outstanding following the caregiver’s receipt of the initial written verification, subsequent written verifications from a physician, the Department or a local health department as additional vaccinations become due. These verifications shall be prepared in the same manner as set forth in subparagraph (i), but need not repeat information contained in a previously submitted verification. The verifications must demonstrate continuing compliance with the vaccination requirements in subsection (b).
(3) The caregiver shall retain the written verification or objection referenced in paragraphs (1) and (2) for 60 days following the termination of the child’s attendance.
(4) The caregiver shall ensure that a certificate of immunization is completed and signed for each child enrolled in the child care group setting. The certificates shall be updated by the caregiver to include the information provided to the caregiver under subsection (a) when that additional information is received. The immunization status of each enrolled child shall be summarized and reported on an annual basis to the Department at the time prescribed by the Department and on the form provided by the Department.
(1) The standards are as follows:(c) Notice. The Department will place a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin listing publications containing ACIP recommendations issued under the standards in subsection (b). The Department published the initial notice at 32 Pa.B. 539 (January 26, 2002), contemporaneously with the adoption of amendments to this chapter. The Department will update that list in a notice which it will publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin within 30 days after ACIP issues a recommendation which satisfies the criteria of this section.(i) The immunization practice is supported by both published and unpublished scientific literature as a means to address the morbidity and mortality of the disease.(2) The Department will deem an ACIP recommendation pertaining to the immunization of children to satisfy the standards in this subsection unless ACIP alters its standards for recommending immunizations for children by eliminating a standard set forth in this subsection and the recommendation is issued under those changed standards.
(ii) The labeling and packaging inserts for the immunizing agent are considered.
(iii) The immunizing agent is safe and effective.
(iv) The schedule for use of the immunizing agent is administratively feasible.
(1) This section does not apply to the following:(e) Exclusion when disease is present. Whenever one of the diseases in § 27.76 (relating to exclusion and readmission of children, and staff having contact with children, in child care group settings) has been identified within a child care group setting, the Department or a local health department may order the exclusion from the child care group setting or any other child care group setting which is determined to be at high-risk of transmission of that disease, of an individual susceptible to that disease in accordance with public health standards as determined by the Department.(i) Children attending kindergarten, elementary school or higher school who are 5 years of age or older. These caregivers shall comply with § § 23.81—23.87 (relating to immunization).(2) The requirement imposed by subsection (a), to not accept a child into a child care group setting without receiving an initial written verification or objection specified in subsection (a), does not apply during a month the caregiver does not serve as a caregiver for at least 40 hours.
(ii) A caregiver who does not serve as a caregiver for at least 40 hours during at least 1 month.