Dear Superintendent Letter: Clarification of Immunization Requirements for School Entry and Attendance

February 2005

Dear Superintendent/Principal/Nurse/Administrator:

The purpose of this letter is to clarify a number of points regarding immunization requirements for school entry and attendance. These clarifications are intended to align immunization requirements for school entry and attendance, as set forth in Public Health Law Section 2164, with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the administration of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines. Better understanding of these immunization requirements will help eliminate the risks associated with the administration of untimely and unnecessary doses of vaccine and reduce costs associated with overimmunization.

In order to ensure that children entering and attending school are adequately immunized against vaccine preventable diseases, the New York State Department of Health Immunization Program, in accordance with ACIP guidelines, considers the following as valid immunizations:

  • a dose of live virus measles, mumps and rubella vaccine may be administered no more than four days prior to a child's first birthday, and a second dose of live virus measles, mumps and rubella vaccine may be administered no less than 28 days after the first dose;
  • three doses of enhanced inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (commonly known as IPV, the only polio vaccine currently in use in the United States) may be administered to meet New York State immunization requirements for school entry and attendance; and
  • a dose of live virus varicella vaccine may be administered no more than four days prior to a child's first birthday.

Please note that at this time New York State requires three doses of diphtheria (New York City requires four doses) and three doses of polio vaccine for entry into kindergarten and for any student entering a school in New York State for the first time. However, the ACIP recommends four doses of diphtheria by age 18 months and five doses by 4-6 years of age. Children 4-6 years of age should receive four doses of polio vaccine unless the third dose is given after age 4 years.

Thank you for your continuing efforts to protect the health of New York State's children against vaccine preventable diseases. If you have any questions regarding this letter please call David Gonzalez or Robin Tice at (518) 474-1944.

Sincerely,

Debra Blog, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Director
Immunization Program