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Immunizations, exemptions and Kentucky law

Originally posted: Aug 6, 2011 (Updated Jan, 2018)

Changes were made to the KY immunization regulations in 2017. You no
longer need a provider signature for a religious exemption. You will
need a notarized form signed by the parent/guardian. Find it below.

Childhood immunizations, exemptions and Kentucky law


The risks verses benefits of childhood immunization has become more and more of a hot topic of debate in recent years. The choice of having your child or children vaccinated or not should be an educated one. I am writing this article to present some simple facts and to provide resources, which are sometimes hard to find, to parents or guardians of school aged children. The immunizations, exemptions and laws you will read about also pertain to daycare, pre-school as well as elementary and secondary schools. In this article I will use the terms vaccination and immunization interchangeably.

I recently read a statistic that came from the American Journal of Perinatology. It reports that over a 5 year period from 2001 to 2005 there was an increase in vaccinations of infants (within hours of birth) from 7.4% to 87.8%. According to the article nearly 94% of infants are being vaccinated within the first 24 hours. After reading that somewhat shocking statistic I decided to find out where these immunization recommendations come from. I found that the recommended immunization schedules come from The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These recommendations are then disseminated to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) whose members are the ones that usually give the vaccinations. The immunization schedules are available on the CDC website at I highly recommend that you check this link out. You will see what vaccines are given and at what ages they are recommended.

According to the CDC there are 35 doses of recommended vaccines against some 16 different diseases given from birth to age six which includes an annual influenza vaccination. This does not include 3 more vaccinations for high risk groups and there are more vaccines recommended for ages 7-18. The state of Kentucky has a regulated schedule of vaccines derived from the CDC that can be found at: Click on the summary of KY immunizations below for and easier to read “cheat sheet”.

Kentucky state law (KRS 214.034) requires all parents, guardians, and other persons having care, custody, or control of any child to have the child immunized against at least nine different diseases listed in the statute. Kentucky law (KRS 158.035) also states that in order to enroll your child in any public or private elementary or secondary school they must be immunized and a certificate of proof of these immunizations from a medical physician, osteopathic physician, physicians assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, pharmacist or local health department administrator must be presented.

These laws also allow for exemptions from these vaccinations for medical or religious reasons (KRS 214.036). If you make the choice not to vaccinate your child or children then you will need to have your family physician, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or local health department administrator sign either the religious exemption form or the medical exemption form. The religious exemption form must be accompanied by a signed, notarized affidavit stating you are opposed for personal religious reasons. Just present these signed documents to your child’s school or daycare and they can not be questioned. I have had no problems whatsoever.

My personal experience with trying to find all of the information needed to exempt my children from vaccinations was difficult. I have provided all of the information you need regarding Kentucky immunization laws and exemptions. I implore you to educate yourself on the risks and benefits of vaccinations which is beyond the scope of this article. There is plenty of information out there. All of the documents necessary for exemption are below in PDF form.

For Kentucky Laws click on the KRS links in the above article

Religious Exemption Certificate

KY Immunization Program Website

KY Amended (2017) immunization regulation frequently asked questions

Summary of KY Immunization requirements

other helpful links

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