Immunization Information for Schools and Child Care Workers

Students and child care workers are required to be vaccinated against certain diseases in Rhode Island. These requirements are based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and healthcare providers in Rhode Island.

More information about these diseases is available online.

Required immunizations for students

Requirements for children entering pre-kindergarten, child care, or day care centers

These requirements only apply to children in facilities licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

  • 4 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of flu vaccine each year
  • 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • 3 doses of Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 4 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (not routinely given to healthy children 5 years of age and older)
  • 3 doses of polio vaccine
  • 1 dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Requirements for children entering kindergarten

A child who is entering kindergarten must have met the pre-kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 1 dose of polio vaccine
  • 1 dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Requirements for children entering 7th grade

A child who is entering 7th grade must have met the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine

Requirement for children entering 12th grade

A child who is entering 12th grade must have met the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and 7th grade immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) vaccine - booster dose

Required immunizations for child care workers

No-cost immunization clinics are being held to help child care workers get the immunizations listed below. Additionally, a frequently asked questions document has been developed to help child care workers better understand these regulations.

  • 1 dose of flu vaccine every year
  • 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine
  • 2 doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Exemptions

  • Students and children in day care, child care, and pre-kindergarten facilities can be exempted from required immunizations for either religious or medical reasons. Religious exemption forms can be obtained from school nurses. A medical exemption form must be provided by and signed by a doctor. (Exemption forms can be ordered online by healthcare providers.)
  • Child care workers can be exempted from required immunizations for medical reasons. A medical exemption form must be provided and signed by a doctor. (Exemption forms can be ordered online by healthcare providers.)

Other ways to meet the immunization requirements

  • Students and child care workers do not need to get the immunizations listed above if they have already received them. This can be demonstrated with an immunization record, a medical passport, or any other official record that shows the month, day, and year of the vaccinations.
  • Students and child care workers do not need to get the immunizations listed above if they cannot receive them for medical reasons. A healthcare provider can provide paperwork stating that someone cannot be vaccinated against a particular disease for medical reasons.
  • Child care workers do not need to get varicella (chickenpox) vaccine if they had varicella (chickenpox or shingles) in the past. This can be demonstrated with a signed statement from a licensed healthcare provider acting within his/her scope of practice (physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner).
  • If a child care worker is already immune to a disease, vaccination against that disease is not required. Immunity must be demonstrated with laboratory evidence (also called a titer).
  • Child care workers born before 1957 are not required to get MMR vaccine.
  • Child care workers born before 1980 are not required to get varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

HPV vaccination

A 3-dose HPV immunization requirement is being phased in. For fall 2015, 1 dose will be required for 7th graders. For fall 2016, one dose will be required for 7th graders and 2 doses will be required for 8th graders. For fall 2017, 1 dose will be required for 7th graders, 2 doses will be required for 8th graders, and 3 doses will be required for 9th graders.