Caring for Our Children Basics

Unimmunized Children

If immunizations have not been or are not to be administered because of a medical condition, a statement from the child's primary health care provider documenting the reason why the child is temporarily or permanently medically exempt from the immunization requirements should be on file. If immunizations are not to be administered because of the parents'/guardians' religious or philosophical beliefs, a legal exemption with notarization, waiver, or other state-specific required documentation signed by the parent/guardian should be on file. Parents/guardians of an enrolling or enrolled infant who has not been immunized due to the child’s age should be informed if/when there are children in care who have not had routine immunizations due to exemption.

The parent/guardian of a child who has not received the age-appropriate immunizations prior to enrollment and who does not have documented medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions from routine childhood immunizations should provide documentation of a scheduled appointment or arrangement to receive immunizations. Children who are in foster care or experiencing homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act should receive services while parents/guardians are taking necessary actions to comply with immunization requirements of the program. An immunization plan and catch-up immunizations should be initiated upon enrollment and completed as soon as possible.

If a vaccine-preventable disease to which children are susceptible occurs and potentially exposes the unimmunized children who are susceptible to that disease, the health department should be consulted to determine whether these children should be excluded for the duration of possible exposure or until the appropriate immunizations have been completed. The local or state health department will be able to provide guidelines for exclusion requirements.

Last Updated: February 8, 2019