Mandatory Vaccination Requirements in Pennsylvania

Changes in Recommendations

Since 1985, the recommended vaccinations for children under 2 years of age has more than doubled.  Additional vaccinations are recommended for children through the age of 18, and additional booster shots are recommended throughout adulthood.  Further, many of these recommended vaccinations use multiple doses, making the number of injections for children today much different than the prior generations.


Research done by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies claim that the vaccinations are safe, effective, and necessary.  However, there is a growing group of doctors, scientists, and parents who advocate that there are previously unknown adverse effects as a result of this practice.  This debate becomes very personal to both groups of individuals because each side believes they are doing what is best for their child, or for the children in their community.

Whatever your decision, it is important to know your legal rights in Pennsylvania.

School Requirements

Pennsylvania requires children attending school, day care, or pre-kindergarten programs to be immunized with a list of most of the basic childhood vaccinations.  This requirement includes children attending home education programs, cyber and charter schools, Christian schools, and vocational schools. If an individual does not comply, they may not be able to attend school.  Since Pennsylvania has compulsory education, a parent could be prosecuted if their child does not attend school.


There are three basic exemptions from the mandatory vaccination schedule in Pennsylvania at this time.  Individuals may be medically exempt from the requirements if a physician provides a written statement that the immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child. An individual may also be able to obtain an exemption with written objection to the immunization on religious grounds, or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.  However, Pennsylvania currently has legislation in both houses that could change these exemptions in the future.

For more information about your legal rights regarding vaccination of school children in Pennsylvania, please contact our experienced attorneys in York, Lancaster, and surrounding areas at 717-843-8046.