Changes to the Immunization Exemption Law

July 22, 2011

A new Washington state law goes into effect today, adding additional conditions to the vaccine exemption requirements.  To exempt their children from immunizations, parents must now get a health care provider’s signature on the Certificate of Exemption, verifying that the parent has received information on the benefits and risks of immunizations.  A signed letter from an MD, ND, ARNP, PA or DO stating the same information as the exemption certificate is valid as well.

An exemption form on file at a school or licensed child care turned in before July 22, 2011 is still valid for the exemptions indicated on that form. But, as kids progress through school, they may need different vaccinations to meet age-appropriate immunization requirements, and at that time a new form will need to be turned in.

Parent’s who claim membership in a church or other religious body whose beliefs exclude seeking medical treatment from health care providers will not need the additional provider signature.

As Naturopathic Physicians, we already provide comprehensive information about childhood immunizations, and the risks and benefits associated with them, at every well child visit.  So while there is now a new form for us to sign, this law doesn’t change how we currently practice or the choices parents are able to make.

More information about these changes can be found at  http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/immunize/schools/exemption-info.htm

-Dr. Carly Bridge

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