WA State Exemptions

Washington State law allows medical, philosophical, and religious exemptions from vaccination

You may be notified by your child’s school that certain vaccines are required for school attendance. It is important to know that in Washington State, exemptions may be filed for any or all required vaccines.

While vaccination policies and requirements are established at the “population level,” the safe administration of vaccines at the “individual level” and the preservation of the basic human right to informed medical consent calls for access to vaccination exemptions.

Washington State law currently allows medical, philosophical, and religious exemptions from vaccination for school attendance.

Q: Which healthcare providers may sign the exemption form or write a letter?

A: Only physicians (M.D.), physician assistants (P.A.), osteopaths (D.O.), naturopaths (N.D.), and advanced registered nurse practitioners (A.R.N.P.) licensed in Washington are authorized to sign the exemption form or write a letter. Signatures by registered nurses (R.N.) or licensed practical nurses (L.P.N.) are not acceptable. Military personnel who are WA state-licensed physicians, naturopaths, or advanced registered nurses can sign the exemption or write a letter, if it is within the scope of their official duties

Q: How does a healthcare provider verify that they informed parents/guardians about the benefits and risks of vaccination

A: Healthcare providers sign the pre-written declaration on the exemption form. They can also write a letter that:
  1. Indicates they gave the parent information about the benefits and risks of
  2. Immunization to the child.
  3. Contains the child’s name.
  4. Is signed and dated by the provider.
InformedChoiceWA does not encourage the use of the most recent version of the DOH Certificate of Exemption because it contains extraneous language not specified in the law. A former version of the DOH Certificate of Exemption can be accessed below.

Recommended exemption form

We have provided a printable PDF copy of the 2011 exemption form which does not contain extraneous language. You can access it here:
Per WAC 246-105-050, you are required to turn in an official Certificate of Exemption, but if your healthcare provider is for whatever reason unable to sign it, they can provide their signature in a suitable letter.

DOH & RCW links

Link to the WA Department of Health website on Vaccine Requirements
Link to the Washington State Legislature website, RCW 28A.210.090 Immunization program—Exemptions

Excerpt from website:

RCW 28A.210.090 Immunization program—Exemptions.

(1) Any child shall be exempt in whole or in part from the immunization measures required by RCW 28A.210.060 through 28A.210.170 upon the presentation of any one or more of the certifications required by this section, on a form prescribed by the department of health:
(a) A written certification signed by a health care practitioner that a particular vaccine required by rule of the state board of health is, in his or her judgment, not advisable for the child: PROVIDED, That when it is determined that this particular vaccine is no longer contraindicated, the child will be required to have the vaccine;
(b) A written certification signed by any parent or legal guardian of the child or any adult in loco parentis to the child that the religious beliefs of the signator are contrary to the required immunization measures; or
(c) A written certification signed by any parent or legal guardian of the child or any adult in loco parentis to the child that the signator has either a philosophical or personal objection to the immunization of the child.
(2)(a) The form presented on or after July 22, 2011, must include a statement to be signed by a health care practitioner stating that he or she provided the signator with information about the benefits and risks of immunization to the child. The form may be signed by a health care practitioner at any time prior to the enrollment of the child in a school or licensed day care. Photocopies of the signed form or a letter from the health care practitioner referencing the child’s name shall be accepted in lieu of the original form.
(b) A health care practitioner who, in good faith, signs the statement provided for in (a) of this subsection is immune from civil liability for providing the signature.
(c) Any parent or legal guardian of the child or any adult in loco parentis to the child who exempts the child due to religious beliefs pursuant to subsection (1)(b) of this section is not required to have the form provided for in (a) of this subsection signed by a health care practitioner if the parent or legal guardian demonstrates membership in a religious body or a church in which the religious beliefs or teachings of the church preclude a health care practitioner from providing medical treatment to the child.
(3) For purposes of this section, “health care practitioner” means a physician licensed under chapter 18.71 or 18.57 RCW, a naturopath licensed under chapter 18.36A RCW, a physician assistant licensed under chapter 18.71A or 18.57A RCW, or an advanced registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW.

Disclaimer

The information contained on this page and on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Both the law and medicine are subject to frequent changes. Please see your medical provider and/or legal advisor.
 

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