Vaccination Exemption Information for Children & Adults
Today many parents have come to the choice to adopt and alternative vaccine schedule. Regardless of your stance on any vaccine, you shall not be subjected to discrimination based on fully informed medical rights as a parent. There have been many questions and concerns regarding day care and preschool centers, homes, churches, etc., and whether they are required to accept religious or medical vaccine exemptions. Whether you are looking for a day care or pre-school in a home, center (facility), a church institution, park district, or a YMCA club, you are entitled to know your legal rights as a parent of a school-aged child. School-aged children and young adults attending institutes of higher education, are also protected by Illinois statutes and Administrative codes.
PreK-12th Grade Religious Exemption
Current Illinois law and rules state that the Religious Certificate (link below) is to be used for grades preschool, Kindergarten, 6th, 9th and any student entering into a school for the first time, including transfer students. All other years, a parent may use a personal religious exemption letter.
- There is space on the Religious Exemption form to write your religious exemption letter but most people write their letter separately and attach it to the form.
- When writing the exemption letter: List all recommended vaccines. Also, per the law the religious objection stated need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization. In other words your religious beliefs are your own.
- Call your doctor ahead to ask if they will sign the form. While the doctor is not validating your religious exemption and only signing stating that they educated you on the importance of vaccines, many doctors are still refusing to sign. Knowing ahead of time if they will sign will eliminate an unnecessary trip to the doctor.
- If your doctor refuses to sign, please share your story with IC4IC here.
School Medical Exemption
There is no standard form for medical exemptions. It is recommended that the health care provider write a letter on office letterhead, outlining the decision for and reasoning why the child can not receive vaccinations.
"A healthcare provider may consider including without limitation the nationally accepted recommendations from federal agencies such as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the information outlined in the relevant vaccine information statement, and vaccine package inserts, along with the healthcare provider's clinical judgment, to determine whether any child may be more susceptible to experiencing an adverse vaccine reaction than the general population, and if so, the healthcare provider may exempt the child from an immunization or adopt an individualized immunization schedule."
- Know your medical history. If you child has had any history of adverse reactions to medication or vaccines.
- Discuss with the doctor before making an appointment that they understand medical exemptions and are willing to write one. This can avoid unnecessary trips to a doctor that may not be willing or know how to write a medical exemption.
Healthcare Employee Religious Exemption
There are various state and federal laws that protect your religious rights to vaccine exemptions. There are ZERO employee vaccine mandate laws in IL, but there are some workplaces in IL that have written policies which restrict ones religious rights. These places can write policies all they like but at the end of the day they cannot violate state or federal laws.
No daycare (private or public) FACILITY or HOME can deny a Medical or Religious Exemption.
The required vaccines for day care are: DTap, MMR, Polio, Hib, PCV, Hep B, varicella, and Meningococcal. Though, they are obligated to accept an exemption if you file one.
Licensed day care centers must follow the standards in: Administrative Code 407: Licensing Standards for Day Care Centers
Per the day care licensing standards the child's immunizations are required to be in compliance with Adm. Code 665, Immunization Code. See ‘Subpart E: Exceptions’ in Code 665, select ‘Section 665.510 ReligiousObjection’:
Section 665.510: Pertains to child care facilities and discusses your legal right to use a religious exemption.
h) The Certificate of Religious Exemption and subsections(a), (b), (c) and (d) are also applicable to children entering child care facilities not operated by an elementary or secondary school or institution of higher learning whose parents or legal guardians object to health, dental or eye examinations, immunizations or vision or hearing screening tests on religious grounds. The child care facility shall inform the parents or legal guardians of outbreak control exclusion procedures, in accordance with the Control of Communicable Diseases Code, at the time the religious exemption is presented. The child care facility shall attach the form to the child's health record and place the record in the child's permanent record.
You must fill out the IDPH Religious Exemption form and have it signed by a MD, Doctor of Osteopathic, Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. Unfortunately Chiropractors can not sign.
Denied a Religious Exemption for day care?
Please share your story with IC4IC here.
Day Care Workers
A law became effective 1/1/2016 that does not allow for Religious Exemptions, only Medical.
ILLINOIS COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES TITLE 77: PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER I: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
SUBCHAPTER (k): COMMUNICABLE DISEASE CONTROL AND IMMUNIZATIONS PART 694
COLLEGE IMMUNIZATION CODE
Section 694.210 Religious Exemption
- A student may be exempted from the immunization requirements specified in this Part upon acceptance by the designated record keeping office of a written and signed statement by the student (or the student's parent or guardian, if the student is a minor) detailing the student's objection to immunization on religious grounds. The objection must set forth the specific religious belief that conflicts with the immunization. The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established religious organization. General philosophical or moral reluctance to allow immunizations will not provide a sufficient basis for an exception to statutory requirements.