School Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Are your kids up-to-date on all of their vaccines?

Are all or most of the other kids they go to school with up to date and protected too?

Even with all of the new talk about vaccine choice, it can be difficult to find the vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates of your child's school.

UPDATE: November 2022

On October 20, 2022, the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to add COVID-19 vaccination to the childhood immunization schedule. While the CDC makes vaccine recommendations, each state will determine which ones are required for school entry. The updated schedule is set to be released in early 2023.

Sure, you might already expect low vaccination rates if you are sending your kids to a Waldorf school. Here are some sample vaccine exemption rates from 2018 and 2019 for Waldorf schools around the country:

  • Tuscon Waldorf School (Arizona) - 52% vaccine exemption rate
  • Waldorf School of San Diego (California) - 30% vaccine exemption rate
  • Cedar Springs Waldorf School (California) - 30% vaccine exemption rate
  • Da Vinci Waldorf School (Illinois) - 27% measles vaccine exemption rate
  • Austin Waldorf School (Texas) - 53% vaccine exemption rate
  • Orchard Valley Waldorf School (Vermont) - 56% MMR vaccine exemption rate
  • Lake Champlain Waldorf School (Vermont) - 33% measles vaccine exemption rate
  • Sunfield Waldorf School (Washington) - 27% vaccine exemption rate

Not surprisingly, there are no Waldorf schools in Mississippi or West Virginia, two states that don't allow non-medical exemptions. It is interesting that although there are no personal belief vaccine exemptions in Illinois or Washington, some schools still manage to reach high exemption rates through medical and religious exemptions, which are typically rare.

But this isn't just about low vaccination rates at Waldorf schools. Are parents at other schools aware when high levels of school vaccine exemptions put their kids at risk for getting vaccine-preventable diseases?

Clusters of unvaccinated students at schools in all states, whatever their immunization laws, put kids at risk, despite overall high vaccination levels everywhere else.

Arizona Vaccination and Exemption Rates

About 5% of kids Arizona have vaccine exemptions
Non-medical vaccine exemptions have been growing among Arizona school kids. Photo by Getty Images

Vaccine exemption rates for kindergarten and 6th grade are available at the county level in Arizona.

The rates are also available for public schools, charter schools, and private schools. Vaccine rates and exemption rates are available for childcare centers in Arizona too.

Arizona Immunization Program

California Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Welcome to California
California is experiencing a statewide epidemic of pertussis, which has already led to two infant deaths. Photo by Getty Images

In addition to providing annual summary reports and data files about the vaccination status for kids in daycare, kindergarten, and 7th grade (going back to 2011, 2000, and 2011 respectively), you can also see the rate of children who are up to date on their vaccinations on a map:

How many kids in your child's daycare or school are up to date on their vaccines?

After a measles outbreak at Disneyland, California became one of the few states to ban both personal belief and religious exemptions in 2015. However, medical exemptions became prevalent enough that many schools began falling under the recommended 95% vaccination rate. In 2019, two more bills were passed to allow the State of California Department of Public Health to review suspicious medical exemptions.

Medical exemptions may be reviewed when a school fails to report its vaccination rate or said vaccination rate falls below 95%. An investigation may also occur if a doctor is writing an unusually high number of medical exemptions per year.

Colorado Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check Colorado vaccination rates online
The 'much more' in Colorado shouldn't be measles... Photo by Getty Images

In Colorado, schools have to make their vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates publicly available.

That's important, because Colorado has one of the highest rates of personal belief vaccine exemptions in the United States.

However, since the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment isn't actually collecting, analyzing, publishing, or reporting on these vaccination or exemption rates, it does make it a little harder to find.

Chalkbeat Colorado has posted vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates for over 1,000 schools in 20 of Colorado's largest school districts, including Colorado Springs and the Denver Public Schools.

Georgia Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check vaccination rates in Georgia schools.
Measles might be on your mind too, depending on which schools your kids go to in Georgia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Parents used to be able to search by school name or county on the Georgia Department of Public Health website to find out the vaccination rate and vaccine exemption rate for each school in Georgia. While the Department of Public Health still tracks this information, it no longer shares school-level data, claiming that doing so could put individual students at risk of identification.

Because Georgia does not allow personal belief exemptions, the vaccine exemptions only include religious and medical exemptions and likely explains the overall low level of vaccine exemptions in the state.

Illinois Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check the vaccination rates for schools in Illinois
Overall, vaccine exemption rates are low in Illinois. Photo by Getty Images

Illinois is another state without personal belief exemptions to vaccines, although they do allow religious exemptions and medical exemptions.

In states without personal belief exemptions, many parents seem to use the religious exemption instead, even though very few religions are actually opposed to their members getting vaccinated.

Resources to check vaccination rates for all schools in Illinois include:

Massachusetts Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check vaccination rates for schools in Massachusetts
Massachusetts had some of the first immunization laws in the early 1800s. Photo by Getty Images

Parents in Massachusetts can look up vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates for all public and private schools in their state.

The information is available from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Immunization Program. Parents can look up data for preschool, kindergarten, grade 7, and college.

Michigan Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check vaccination rates for schools in Michigan
Michigan is another state with not-so-great vaccination rates. Photo by Getty Images

On the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, you can view immunization data by kindergarten, seventh grade, or the county level. You can also look at exemption data for childcare centers and new arrivals to a particular school district.

Michigan also makes it fairly easy to see how many students across the state are getting each type of exemption: religious, personal, or medical. In 2019, roughly two-thirds of immunization waivers were assigned due to personal or philosophical objections.

Minnesota Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check school vaccination rates in Minnesota
Overall, vaccine exemption rates are usually low in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Minnesota provides information on vaccination rates and vaccine exemptions for kids in kindergarten and seventh grade.

The rates can be viewed by county, school district, and individual school, so you can really tell how many kids are up to date on their vaccines in your child's school.

Being able to look at the school level is important.

While in general, the rate of non-medical exemptions (including personal belief vaccine exemptions) in Minnesota was low in the 2018-2019 school year, at around 1.68%, the rate was over 20% at several schools.

Minnesota school immunization data

New York Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Get school immunization rates in New York.
Exemption rates are generally low in New York. Photo by Getty Images

In some states, although school immunization data is collected and sent to the state health department, it isn't always available to the public.

In New York, the Daily Intelligencer requested and published data for New York City private schools for the 2012-13 school year.

Although New York did not (and still doesn't) allow personal belief vaccine exemptions, at least 125 private schools in New York City had vaccination rates below 90%. Even more shocking, 37 schools had vaccination rates below 70% and 9 schools had rates between 18% and 42%. The report caused extensive criticism of these schools from the public.

New York City Public Radio has a Find Your School's Vaccination Rate tool that lists the 2014-2015 school year vaccination rates across New York State.

Texas Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Get immunization rates in Texas schools.
Some school districts west of Austin have higher vaccine exemption rates than the rest of the state. Photo by Getty Images

The Texas Department of State Health Services makes vaccination and vaccine exemption rates available to the public at the district level. Accredited private schools are also required to submit reports on vaccination and vaccine exemption rates. In the 2018-2019 school year:

  • 2.17% of kindergarteners had a conscientious objection on file for at least one vaccine.
  • 1.37% of 7th graders had a conscientious objection on file.
  • Private schools had much higher conscientious exemption rates (3.17%) than public schools (1.13%).

Vermont Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Get immunization rates for schools in Vermont.
With high vaccine exemption rates in Vermont, they are at risk for measles outbreaks. Photo by Getty Images

Vermont provides both vaccination rates and exemption rates for public and private schools each year. Individuals can get data on child care centers, kindergarten through 12th grade, and colleges and universities. In the 2019-2020 school year:

  • 3.5% of kindergarteners had religious exemptions. (The personal belief exemption was eliminated in 2016.)
  • Religious exemptions were over three times higher in independent/private schools (9.7%) than public schools (3.1%).

Vermont Vaccination Coverage Data

Washington Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Get immunization rates for schools in Washington.
Washington has been home to several measles outbreaks the last few years. Photo by Getty Images

Washington state provides school immunization and exemption rates, including county-level rates, school district-level rates, and rates for individual schools. The dashboards include both graphs and maps.

Washington School Immunization Dashboards

The Seattle Times did a report in 2019 on Washington vaccine exemption rates using data from the 2017-18 school year. Readers can pick a city and compare MMR vaccine exemption rates for every school in the area.

Other State Vaccination and Exemption Rates

Check immunization rates in schools in many states in the country.
Can you check the immunization rates and vaccine exemption rates in your state?. Photo by Getty Images

A USA Today report from 2015 allows you to search for elementary school immunization rates and exemption for schools in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Publicize School Vaccination Rates and Exemption Rates

Although many people want to remove philosophical exemptions for vaccines and strengthen criteria for both religious and medical exemptions (many parents seem to just claim medical or religious vaccine exemptions when philosophical exemptions aren't an option), making vaccine rates public and easily available for each and every school in every state is something that should be done as soon as possible to help boost community immunity.

11 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP Immunization Schedule Vote.

  2. Sobo EJ. Social cultivation of vaccine refusal and delay among Waldorf (Steiner) school parents. Med Anthro Q. 2015;29(3):381-399. doi:10.1111/maq.12214

  3. Evrony A, Caplan A. The overlooked dangers of anti-vaccination groups' social media presence. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2017;13(6):1475-6. doi:10.1080/21645515.2017.1283467

  4. Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Lessons from California's vaccine exemption laws.

  5. California Health & Human Services Agency. Senate Bill 276 and Senate Bill 714: vaccinations and medical exemptions questions and answers.

  6. Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition. The ABCs of PBEs.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2009-10 through 2019-20 School Year Vaccination Exemptions Trend Report.

  8. Williams JTB, Rice J, Cox-Martin M, Bayliss EA, O'Leary ST. Religious vaccine exemptions in kindergarteners: 2011-2018. Pediatrics. 2019;144(6):e20192710. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-2710

  9. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Immunization Status of School Children in Michigan, 2019.

  10. Minnesota Department of Health. School immunization data.

  11. Texas Department of State Health Services. Conscientious Exemptions Data - Vaccination Coverage Levels.

Additional Reading

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.