New School and Daycare Immunization Rules in Effect this September


By Dawn Martin, MD, MPH, Pediatric Staff Physician, Hennepin County Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota

Long waited changes to Minnesota’s Immunization law will go into effect in September 2014. Minnesota’s immunization law has not been updated for over 10 years and current law did not reflect national standards to protect children from vaccine-preventable disease. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) started a process almost two years ago to update Minnesota school and daycare requirements to reflect national immunization standards as set by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). Drs. Robert Jacobson, Dawn Martin and Michael Garvis were participants in the Immunization Rulemaking Advisory Committee for this process and Drs. Robert Jacobson and Mark Schleiss testified at a public hearing in June 2013 in support of these changes. MDH also involved other stakeholders in the process, including schools, parents, child care providers and early childhood programs. The new immunization requirements for children in Minnesota child care, early childhood programs and schools apply to children enrolling in programs beginning September 1, 2014.

Weaker school and daycare rules have been proven to result in lower rates of vaccination and higher rates of vaccine-preventable disease. School and daycare immunization rules not only protect the individual children who are vaccinated, but those who cannot get the vaccines because of specific underlying diseases, those who do not respond to the vaccines, and those too young to get the vaccines. They also protect those who care for these children and the families of the children who attend school and daycare facilities. These new rules do not change the medical exemption or option for parents to decline any or all vaccines for conscientious reasons.

The new immunization rules support and strengthen our work as pediatricians to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases and keep Minnesota children and families healthy.

New Vaccine Requirements

  • Hepatitis A and B – for all children over 2 months old in child care or an early childhood program
  • Tdap – for all students entering seventh grade. Students in eighth through 12th grade must show documentation if the school requests it. This replaces the Td immunization requirement.
  • Meningitis (meningococcal) – for all students entering seventh grade. Students in eighth through 12th grade must show documentation if the school requests it.
  • Kindergarten children must have their final dose of DTaP and polio on or after their fourth birthday.
  • Early childhood programs now included.
  • Also under Minnesota’s new Immunization Law are early childhood programs, which include programs that provide instructional or other services to support children’s learning and development, serve children from birth to kindergarten and meet at least once a week for at least six weeks or more during the year. These children must provide proof of immunization for DTaP, Polio, Hib, Pneumococcal, MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

A document explaining the need and reasonableness of these changes from MDH is at:

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