State Requiring Flu Shots For All Students Attending Massachusetts Schools

Photo: Now it’s required

Last week State public health officials announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities.

The new vaccine requirement is an important step to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by Dec. 31, for the 2020-2021 influenza season. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model such as Belmont are not exempt.

Exempted from the new mandate are K-12 students who are homeschooled or have either a medical or religious exemption.

This new flu immunization requirement to enter school in January is in addition to existing vaccine requirements for all those attending child care, preschool, K-12, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts. The following immunizations must be documented by a health care practitioner, with dates including at least month and year; full dates are preferable and sometimes necessary. 

Attendees older than two years should be immunized for their age according to the ACIP Recommended Immunization Schedule.

Immunization Requirements For School Entry In 2017/18 School Year*
 Child Care/PreschoolGrade K-6Grade 7-12College
Hepatitis B3 doses (laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable)3 doses (laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable)3 doses (laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable)3 doses (laboratory evidence of immunity acceptable)
DTaP/DTP DT/Td4 doses 5 doses1 dose Tdap1 dose Tdap
Polio3 doses4 doses4 dosesNA
Hib1- 4 dosesNANANA
MMR1 dose2 doses2 doses2 doses
Varicella1 dose2 doses2 doses2 doses
MeningococcalNANA1 dose1 dose

*These requirements also apply to all new “enterers.”

NA = no vaccine requirement for the grades indicated.

Requirements apply to all students including individuals from another country attending or visiting classes or educational programs as part of an academic visitation or exchange program. In ungraded classrooms, Kindergarten requirements apply to all students greater or equal than five years. In ungraded classrooms, grade 7 requirements apply to all students greater or equal than 12 years. Requirements apply to all students, even if over 18 years of age.

All children entering kindergarten must show evidence of:

  • Lead screening
  • Vision screening

This law also indicates that a student without such proof of immunizations may be excluded from attending school.