Understanding the process of opting out of vaccines in New York is crucial for families seeking exemptions for their children.

Opting out may seem daunting with required vaccines for young students and daycare attendees. This guide aims to inform parents about the various steps necessary to acquire a valid vaccine opt-out form in New York for immunization opt-out possibilities. We will break down the procedures for obtaining exemptions, the different exemption types, and the essential information needed to navigate this often-complicated process.

Understanding New York State’s Vaccination Requirements

In New York State, children are legally required to receive vaccinations for a variety of diseases based on their age and educational level. These vaccine requirements are designed to protect both children and the community from transmissible illnesses. Let’s explore the mandatory vaccines and associated vaccination rules in the state of New York.

Vaccinations include:

  • DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
  • Poliovirus
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type b)
  • PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine)
  • Influenza
  • Tdap Booster (Adolescent Booster)
  • MenACWY (Meningococcal ACWY Vaccine)

Non-vaccinated children will not be allowed to attend school and have to follow the notice for missing vaccines they receive from the school. In situations where vaccines are overdue, specific procedures are in place to ensure children receive the necessary doses and can continue their education.

Age Group Vaccine Requirements
2-months to 4-years DTaP, Poliovirus, MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Hib, PCV, Influenza
4-years to 10-years DTaP, Poliovirus, MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Hib, PCV, Influenza
11-years to 18-years DTaP, Poliovirus, MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Hib, PCV, Influenza, Tdap Booster, MenACWY

It is essential for parents and guardians to be aware of the vaccination requirements and exemptions in New York to ensure their children receive the appropriate vaccines on time. Failure to follow these requirements can result in the exclusion of the child from school, putting their education and social development at risk.

Exploring Medical Exemptions for Vaccines in New York

Opt out of vaccines in New York:

In New York, individuals may obtain medical exemptions for vaccines if a licensed medical doctor (MD) or osteopathic doctor (DO) determines that a vaccine could be harmful to a child’s health due to a specific medical condition.

Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) are not authorized to issue medical exemption forms. This section will outline the qualifying conditions, the process for obtaining a medical exemption form, and review and approval procedures for medical vaccine exemptions.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Exemptions

Medical exemptions are granted in cases where a licensed medical doctor (MD) or osteopathic doctor (DO) determines that the vaccine might pose a risk to the child’s health. Common qualifying conditions for medical exemptions include, but are not limited to:

Each medical exemption must be documented with a medical exemption form that has to be completed annually to remain valid.

The Process of Obtaining a Medical Exemption Form

To obtain a medical exemption for vaccines in New York, the following process must be followed:

  1. Consult with a New York State licensed physician (MD or DO) regarding the child’s specific medical contraindications
  2. Acquire a vaccine exemption form completed by the licensed physician
  3. Ensure that the form includes the specific medical reasons for the proposed exemption, which vaccines are exempted, and the duration of the exemption (if temporary)
  4. Submit the completed form to the educational institution attended by the child.

Review and Approval of Medical Vaccine Exemptions

Once submitted to the educational institution, each medical exemption form undergoes a thorough review and approval process:

  1. The educational institution assesses the submitted medical exemption form
  2. Requests for exemptions are reviewed annually
  3. During the review period, the child is permitted to attend school

Each medical vaccine exemption must be supported by comprehensive medical documentation outlining the risk posed by vaccination due to the child’s health condition. By understanding the vaccine exemption process in New York and effectively navigating the review and approval procedures, parents can exercise their legal rights to decline vaccines based on valid medical reasons.

How do I submit proof of vaccination or medical exemption to my child’s school?

Parents can submit their child’s vaccine records or medical exemption approval to New York schools via an approved CH-205 form from a medical provider, a printout of an electronic medical record signed by a medical provider, a printed record from the Department of Health Citywide Immunization Registry, or through records obtained using the My Vaccine Record portal if they have an IDNYC card. Here is the link to the CH-205 form

Can my child attend school if they have started their vaccine series but not completed it?

Yes, children may attend school if they have received the first dose of required vaccines and scheduled follow-up doses according to an official schedule. Parents must communicate with healthcare providers to schedule the remaining vaccinations and inform the school of this schedule to ensure the child can continue attending classes.

Does New York (NY) have a religious exemption for vaccines?

In New York State, there has been a significant change in the policy regarding religious exemptions for vaccinations, especially in the context of schoolchildren.

As of June 2019, New York State passed a bill that eliminated the availability of religious exemptions for compulsory vaccination of schoolchildren. This change was upheld by a New York court in December 2019, following a measles outbreak across the United States. The law requires that students attending any public, private, or charter school in New York must receive all required vaccinations unless there is a valid medical exemption.

Before this amendment, religious exemptions were available under Public Health Law Section 2165, which stipulated that students attending post-secondary institutions and born after January 1, 1957, had to demonstrate proof of immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella, with allowances for both medical and religious exemptions.

However, the 2019 amendment to the law repealed these religious exemptions, affecting approximately 1,200 students in Central New York alone.

The removal of the religious exemption means that students who do not receive the required vaccinations, and do not have a medical exemption are not allowed to attend schools in New York

This change in policy reflects New York’s response to public health concerns, particularly in the wake of significant outbreaks of diseases like measles, which are preventable through vaccination​

Underwent Serological Testing? Here’s What You Need to Know

Serological testing has become a valuable tool in determining immunity to specific diseases, particularly in New York. These tests help identify individuals who may already possess immunity without the need for additional vaccines. Let’s explore the significance of serological testing and vaccines in New York and what it means to have serological evidence of immunity in New York.

Serological testing measures antibodies in the bloodstream that are produced in response to an infection or vaccine. A positive test result indicates that an individual may have immunity against certain diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and hepatitis B. This immunity could be the result of a previous vaccination or recovery from an infection.

  1. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR): A positive serological test for any of these diseases means the student may not require the corresponding vaccine.
  2. Varicella (chickenpox): A serological test can confirm immunity, making the vaccine unnecessary, provided there was a previous diagnosis of chickenpox from a healthcare provider.
  3. Hepatitis B: A positive serological test indicating immunity may eliminate the need for additional doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.

However, it is crucial to note that serological testing is not accepted in place of the poliomyelitis vaccine for students.

Students with serological evidence of immunity may provide the test results or a doctor’s diagnosis of the previous disease as adequate documentation for vaccine exemptions related to the specific diseases mentioned earlier. This evidence should be submitted to the school administration in the same manner as proof of vaccination or medical exemption.

Disease Serological Testing Accepted for Vaccine Exemption
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) Positive test result Yes
Varicella (chickenpox) Positive test result and previous diagnosis Yes
Hepatitis B Positive test result for immunity Yes
Poliovirus Serological testing not applicable No

In conclusion, serological testing can be a useful tool for identifying students with immunity to specific diseases, potentially exempting them from receiving the corresponding vaccines. However, it is essential to provide the relevant documentation to the school administration and understand the limitations of serological testing for certain diseases like poliomyelitis.

Keeping Track of Immunization Records and Compliance

In New York, maintaining accurate and up-to-date immunization records is essential to ensure compliance with the state’s vaccination requirements. This involves understanding the role of the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) and submitting proper documentation to schools.

Role of the Citywide Immunization Registry

The Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) serves as a vital resource for keeping track of immunization records in New York City. It functions as a repository for vaccine records of children and consenting adults and plays a crucial role in demonstrating compliance with vaccination requirements. Parents can access their child’s vaccine records online using an IDNYC card, or alternatively, they can request an Immunization Record by mail or fax.

Submitting Proof of Vaccination or Exemption to Schools

To ensure vaccine compliance in schools in New York, parents must submit their child’s vaccine records or medical exemption approval through one of the following forms:

  • An approved CH-205 form from a medical provider
  • A printout of an electronic medical record signed by a medical provider
  • A printed record from the Department of Health Citywide Immunization Registry
  • Records obtained using the My Vaccine Record portal with an IDNYC card

Submitting accurate documentation helps schools verify a child’s immunization status, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all students.

Procedures for Children with In-Process or Overdue Vaccinations

For vaccines that require multiple doses at set intervals, children in New York may still attend school if they have initiated the vaccination series and are waiting for follow-up doses as advised by a medical provider. This is referred to as the in-process vaccinations procedures in New York. It ensures that children who have followed the vaccination schedule up to a certain point can still receive their education without significant disruption.

In the case of overdue vaccinations in New York, parents must communicate with healthcare providers to schedule the remaining vaccinations and inform the school of this schedule. This coordination is crucial in ensuring that children can continue attending classes, even if their vaccinations are not entirely up to date. To better understand the recommended vaccine schedule for different age groups, refer to the table below:

Age Group Required Vaccines Recommended Schedule
Birth to 6 months Hepatitis B, DTaP, Hib, PCV, Poliovirus, Rotavirus Given at 2, 4, and 6 months
7 months to 18 months MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis A Given at 12-15 months and 18 months
4-6 years DTaP Booster, Poliovirus Booster, MMR booster, Varicella booster Given before starting Kindergarten
11-12 years Tdap Booster, MenACWY, HPV Given at 11-12 years

Remember that communication with your child’s school and healthcare provider is essential throughout the vaccination process. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the vaccination plan and helps avoid any unnecessary interruptions in the child’s education.

Parents should also be aware of the availability of catch-up schedules for children who have fallen behind on their vaccinations due to unforeseen circumstances. For more information, consult your healthcare provider or check the CDC’s catch-up immunization schedule.

In conclusion, be sure to consult your healthcare provider and follow all necessary procedures for children with in-process or overdue vaccinations in New York. Adhering to these guidelines will enable your child to receive their education while also ensuring a safe environment for all students in the school.


In conclusion, opting out of vaccines in New York on medical grounds requires understanding the importance of vaccinations, complying with the state’s regulations, and effectively navigating the process of obtaining a valid medical exemption. As the only acceptable reason for vaccine refusal is medical contraindications, it’s essential to recognize the significant level of documentation and understanding of both medical and legal implications involved in the exemption process.

Maintaining a balance between individual rights and public health safety is crucial when making informed decisions regarding vaccinations in New York. Vaccine education and choices play a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of the community, and it’s vital for parents and guardians to be aware of the consequences of non-compliance with vaccination regulations, such as the possible exclusion of their child from school and the potential impact on their academic and social growth.

While valid medical exemptions may allow children to opt out of vaccinations in New York and continue their education, it remains the responsibility of parents and guardians to actively keep track of vaccination records and communicate effectively with both healthcare providers and educational institutions. This approach will help in safeguarding both the health of the child and the greater community in which they reside.


What are the vaccination requirements for children in New York?

Children in New York are required to receive vaccinations against various diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliovirus, MMR, varicella, hepatitis B, Hib, PCV, influenza, Tdap booster, and MenACWY, based on their age, grade, medical history, and prior vaccines.

Are there any exemptions to vaccination requirements in New York?

Yes, medical exemptions are available if a licensed physician determines that a vaccine may be harmful to a child’s health due to certain medical conditions. The physician must document this through a medical exemption form, which is to be completed annually. Religious exemptions were removed as of June 13, 2019, in New York.

How do I obtain a medical exemption for my child?

To obtain a medical exemption, you must submit a vaccine exemption form completed by a licensed physician in New York State. This form should specify which vaccines are contraindicated, the medical reasons for the exemption, and the duration of the exemption if temporary. The form must be submitted to the educational institution your child attends.

What are the consequences of opting out of vaccines without a valid medical exemption in New York?

If a child does not receive mandatory vaccines and has no valid exemption, they will not be allowed to attend school. Additionally, during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, unvaccinated children may be removed from school for at least one incubation period of the disease, significantly interrupting their education and potentially posing academic and social disadvantages.

Can serological testing replace the need for certain vaccinations?

Serological testing can demonstrate immunity to some diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and hepatitis B. If a student shows immunity as documented by a lab test or a doctor’s diagnosis of a previous disease, they may not need to receive the corresponding vaccine. Serological testing is not accepted in place of the poliomyelitis vaccine for students.

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