BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Whether you plan to register your child in one of Alabama’s many public or private schools, your child will be required to present an immunization card, a valid medical exemption or religious exemption.
Dr. Khalilah Brown with the Jefferson County Department of Health broke down the requirements.
Brown said during registration, schools collect the immunization cards and submit them to the ADPH for audit. She says they check to make sure each child has received the proper vaccinations for their age group.
Private schools are required to follow the same procedure.
For parents who have chosen not to vaccinate for personal reasons, registering for the 2019-2020 school year may be difficult.
Alabama laws only allow vaccine exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
A medical exemption must be an official document from a medical provider explaining medical reasons why a child cannot receive certain vaccines.
Religious exemptions must be filed and approved by the ADPH. Dr. Brown says they don’t receive many.
States like Maine and Minnesota have laws that allow for “philosophical exemptions”. The National Conference of State Legistlatures explains those exemptions are defined as “moral, philosophical or other personal beliefs” in Maine and “conscientiously held beliefs of the parent or guardian” in Minnesota.
Alabama does not allow for “philosophical exemptions”.
Simply put, if you chose not to vaccinate your child for personal reasons, you’ll have to vaccinate your child by the time you go to enroll in school.
Dr. Brown says, regardless of the few exemptions, the percentage of students who are fully vaccinated is greater than those who aren’t.
Home-schooled students are the only ones not required to be vaccinated; however, if a home-schooler participates in public school activities and sports, the same immunization requirements are in effect.
Dr. Brown says daycare facilities and anywhere a group of children are gathered are also required to submit Certificates of Immunization to the ADPH.