Vaccine Requirements: State by State

Nearly every state allows parents to exempt their children from school vaccination requirements based on religious belief. About half allow a personal belief or philosophical exemption. After recent outbreaks of measles and other diseases once nearly eradicated, legislators in 19 states have introduced legislation to tighten or eliminate those exemptions. Embed this on your own site.

Religious Exemption Philosophical Exemption Pending Legislation
Alabama Ala. Yes No
Alaska Alaska Yes No
Arizona Ariz. Yes Yes Public schools in Arizona would be required to post the immunization rates of students under a bill introduced in the state's house of representatives in February.
Arkansas Ark. Yes Yes
California Calif. Yes Yes Following a measles outbreak linked to visitors and employees at Disneyland -- an outbreak that has infected at least 130 in California alone -- state legislators in February introduced a measure to end the state's personal belief exemption. The bill would also require school districts to inform parents of the immunization rates at their children's schools.
Colorado Colo. Yes Yes
Connecticut Conn. Yes No A bill introduced in the Connecticut House in March would force any parent hoping to secure a religious exemption for their child to first have their request for the exemption be notarized. Parents would also have to review instructional material from the state "regarding the risks to such child and to others of … failing to receive adequate immunizations."
Delaware Del. Yes No
District of Columbia D.C. Yes No
Florida Fla. Yes No
Georgia Ga. Yes No
Hawaii Hawaii Yes No
Idaho Idaho Yes Yes
Illinois Ill. Yes No A proposal in Illinois would reshape the state's religious exemption by requiring any parent seeking a faith-based waiver to complete a Department of Public Health objection form, and include a notarized signature from a "religious official attesting to a bona fide religious objection." The bill also requires the state board of education to publish on its website the exemption data it receives from schools.
Indiana Ind. Yes No
Iowa Iowa Yes No
Kansas Kan. Yes No
Kentucky Ky. Yes No
Louisiana La. Yes Yes
Maine Maine Yes Yes One bill in Maine would amend the state's philosophical exemption by requiring parents first receive a signed letter from their doctor certifying that they have reviewed "the risks and benefits of immunization." A separate bill would do away with the philosophical exemption altogether.
Maryland Md. Yes No Just two states -- Mississippi and West Virginia -- do not have a religious exemption on the books. Maryland would join the two if a proposal to repeal the state's current exemption for religion is approved.
Massachusetts Mass. Yes No
Michigan Mich. Yes Yes
Minnesota Minn. Yes Yes Twin bills in the Minnesota legislature would eliminate the state's conscientious belief exemption and replace it with a personal belief exemption. To win one, a parent would need to obtain a certificate of exemption that includes a statement from a physician verifying that they have reviewed information about "the risks and benefits" of vaccination.
Mississippi Miss. No No House Bill 130 in Mississippi was designed to establish guidelines for claiming a conscientious belief exemption, but the measure failed to advance through the legislature.
Missouri Mo. Yes Yes House Bill 846 in Missouri requires that parents be notified if any student at their child's school has not been immunized. A separate proposal would extend the notification requirement to parents with a child in preschool, nursery school or a daycare center.
Montana Mont. Yes No
Nebraska Neb. Yes No
Nevada Nev. Yes No
New Hampshire N.H. Yes No
New Jersey N.J. Yes No A New Jersey bill would tighten the state's exemption law by making it harder for parents to mask philosophical objections behind protections in place for those seeking a religious waiver. Under the bill, parents hoping to secure a religious exemption must first obtain a notarized letter explaining "the nature of the person's religious tenet or practice that is implicated by the vaccination and how the administration of the vaccine would violate, contradict or otherwise be inconsistent with that tenet or practice."
New Mexico N.M. Yes No
New York N.Y. Yes No The Philosophical Exemption to Immunizations Act in New York, introduced in the state assembly a lawmaker whose son has autism, would add a personal belief waiver to the state's existing religious exemption.
North Carolina N.C. Yes No In North Carolina, a bill introduced in March would repeal the state's current religious exemption.
North Dakota N.D. Yes Yes
Ohio Ohio Yes Yes
Oklahoma Okla. Yes Yes
Oregon Ore. Yes Yes Two bills in the Oregon Senate would overhaul the state's current laws around vaccination waivers. One measure would require schools to post data on the number of children exempted from vaccinations, while a separate bill would require a parent to meet with a physician to discuss the "risks and benefits" of immunization before obtaining a waiver.
Pennsylvania Pa. Yes Yes
Rhode Island R.I. Yes No Rhode Island would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states without a religious exemption if a measure to repeal the state's current waiver wins approval.
South Carolina S.C. Yes No
South Dakota S.D. Yes No A bill signed into law in March requires that immunization records be shared with health care providers, government agencies, schools or day care facilities unless the child's parent or guardian signs a refusal.
Tennessee Tenn. Yes No
Texas Texas Yes Yes Texas lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills limiting personal belief exemptions and mandating the release of more data on vaccination rates in schools.
Utah Utah Yes Yes
Vermont Vt. Yes Yes A bill moving through the Vermont House would repeal the state's religious and philosophical exemptions while a separate measure in the senate would do away with the philosophical exemption only.
Virginia Va. Yes No
Washington Wash. Yes Yes A bill in Washington would maintain the state's religious exemption, but no longer allow parents to skip vaccinations for their children on the basis of personal or philosophical objection. The measure cleared a House committee in February but has yet to advance further.
West Virginia W.Va. No No The state legislature has passed a bill that would update immunization requirements and require families seeking exemptions to sign an affidavit affirming their beliefs.
Wisconsin Wis. Yes Yes
Wyoming Wyo. Yes No

Religious Exemption

Philosophical Exemption

Pending Legislation

Alabama

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Alaska

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Arizona

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
Public schools in Arizona would be required to post the immunization rates of students under a bill introduced in the state's house of representatives in February.

Arkansas

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

California

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
Following a measles outbreak linked to visitors and employees at Disneyland -- an outbreak that has infected at least 130 in California alone -- state legislators in February introduced a measure to end the state's personal belief exemption. The bill would also require school districts to inform parents of the immunization rates at their children's schools.

Colorado

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Connecticut

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
A bill introduced in the Connecticut House in March would force any parent hoping to secure a religious exemption for their child to first have their request for the exemption be notarized. Parents would also have to review instructional material from the state "regarding the risks to such child and to others of … failing to receive adequate immunizations."

Delaware

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

District of Columbia

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Florida

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Georgia

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Hawaii

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Idaho

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Illinois

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
A proposal in Illinois would reshape the state's religious exemption by requiring any parent seeking a faith-based waiver to complete a Department of Public Health objection form, and include a notarized signature from a "religious official attesting to a bona fide religious objection." The bill also requires the state board of education to publish on its website the exemption data it receives from schools.

Indiana

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Iowa

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Kansas

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Kentucky

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Louisiana

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Maine

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
One bill in Maine would amend the state's philosophical exemption by requiring parents first receive a signed letter from their doctor certifying that they have reviewed "the risks and benefits of immunization." A separate bill would do away with the philosophical exemption altogether.

Maryland

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
Just two states -- Mississippi and West Virginia -- do not have a religious exemption on the books. Maryland would join the two if a proposal to repeal the state's current exemption for religion is approved.

Massachusetts

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Michigan

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Minnesota

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
Twin bills in the Minnesota legislature would eliminate the state's conscientious belief exemption and replace it with a personal belief exemption. To win one, a parent would need to obtain a certificate of exemption that includes a statement from a physician verifying that they have reviewed information about "the risks and benefits" of vaccination.

Mississippi

Religious Exemption
No
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
House Bill 130 in Mississippi was designed to establish guidelines for claiming a conscientious belief exemption, but the measure failed to advance through the legislature.

Missouri

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
House Bill 846 in Missouri requires that parents be notified if any student at their child's school has not been immunized. A separate proposal would extend the notification requirement to parents with a child in preschool, nursery school or a daycare center.

Montana

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Nebraska

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Nevada

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

New Hampshire

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

New Jersey

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
A New Jersey bill would tighten the state's exemption law by making it harder for parents to mask philosophical objections behind protections in place for those seeking a religious waiver. Under the bill, parents hoping to secure a religious exemption must first obtain a notarized letter explaining "the nature of the person's religious tenet or practice that is implicated by the vaccination and how the administration of the vaccine would violate, contradict or otherwise be inconsistent with that tenet or practice."

New Mexico

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

New York

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
The Philosophical Exemption to Immunizations Act in New York, introduced in the state assembly a lawmaker whose son has autism, would add a personal belief waiver to the state's existing religious exemption.

North Carolina

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
In North Carolina, a bill introduced in March would repeal the state's current religious exemption.

North Dakota

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Ohio

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Oklahoma

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Oregon

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
Two bills in the Oregon Senate would overhaul the state's current laws around vaccination waivers. One measure would require schools to post data on the number of children exempted from vaccinations, while a separate bill would require a parent to meet with a physician to discuss the "risks and benefits" of immunization before obtaining a waiver.

Pennsylvania

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Rhode Island

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
Rhode Island would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states without a religious exemption if a measure to repeal the state's current waiver wins approval.

South Carolina

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

South Dakota

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
A bill signed into law in March requires that immunization records be shared with health care providers, government agencies, schools or day care facilities unless the child's parent or guardian signs a refusal.

Tennessee

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Texas

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
Texas lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills limiting personal belief exemptions and mandating the release of more data on vaccination rates in schools.

Utah

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Vermont

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
A bill moving through the Vermont House would repeal the state's religious and philosophical exemptions while a separate measure in the senate would do away with the philosophical exemption only.

Virginia

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None

Washington

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
A bill in Washington would maintain the state's religious exemption, but no longer allow parents to skip vaccinations for their children on the basis of personal or philosophical objection. The measure cleared a House committee in February but has yet to advance further.

West Virginia

Religious Exemption
No
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
The state legislature has passed a bill that would update immunization requirements and require families seeking exemptions to sign an affidavit affirming their beliefs.

Wisconsin

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
Yes
Pending Legislation
None

Wyoming

Religious Exemption
Yes
Philosophical Exemption
No
Pending Legislation
None