Laws in Washington | WithinReach WA

Laws in Washington

Washington State requires children to receive certain immunizations in order to participate in schools and child care. You can learn more about which immunizations are required and download a certificate of immunization status at the Washington State Department of Health. You can also read the state laws, in the Revised Code of Washington, about these requirements.

The Immunization Action Coalition of Washington advocates for policies that support timely immunization for Washington children, adolescents, and adults. To learn more about the different parts of our immunization system in Washington, download our 2013 Community Immunity Washington State Report Card.

Washington State has passed several laws in the last few years that impact immunizations:

Immunization Exemption

Senate Bill 5005, concerning exemption from immunization, was signed into law May 10, 2011:

  • This law requires a licensed health care provider to sign the Certificate of Exemption for a parent or guardian to exempt their child from school and child care immunization requirements.
  • The signature verifies that the provider gave the parent or guardian information about the risks and benefits of immunization.
  • A parent or guardian can also turn in a signed letter from a health care provider stating the same information.
  • A health care provider doesn’t need to sign the form for parents or guardians who demonstrate membership in a church or religious group that does not allow a health care provider to provide medical treatment to a child.
  • For more information visit the Washington State Department of Health.

Universal Vaccine Purchase

House Bill 2551 established the Washington Vaccine Association and was signed into law March 23, 2010:

  • This law allows the state to continue to purchase vaccines at bulk discount rates for kids covered by private health insurance.
  • It directs private health plans and other payers to pay the state for vaccines given to kids they cover.
  • It established the Washington Vaccine Association, which manages payments to the state from health plans and other payers.
  • To read more about the process of preserving the universal purchase system for childhood vaccines, click here.

Legal Limits of Mercury Containing Vaccines

RCW 70.95M.115 concerning legal limits of mercury containing vaccines in Washington State was signed into law on July 1, 2007:

  • As of July 1, 2007 Washington State law requires that pregnant women and children under 3 years be given vaccines with a limited amount of mercury per dose, with exceptions for influenza vaccine.
  • The law also states that in the case of an outbreak or vaccine shortage, the Secretary of the Department of Health may suspend the law’s mercury limits for the duration of that outbreak or shortage.
  • For more information about the legal limits of mercury containing vaccines in WA State click here.