Child Care Immunization
All students and child care staff members deserve a healthy environment that supports their well-being and builds a strong foundation for learning. Because vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles can spread rapidly, adequate vaccination coverage at the child care level—roughly 95% for each vaccine—helps to protect the health of children, staff and others in the community, including those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or because they are still too young to receive vaccines.
Child Care Immunization Policy
Colorado law requires students attending schools and licensed child care facilities to be vaccinated against certain diseases, or have a vaccine exemption on file.
Child care centers, preschools and Head Start programs with 10 or more children are required to report their data. In 2020, a new law was passed in Colorado that changes the way a parent can obtain a nonmedical vaccine exemption. School and child care facility administrators will have to determine whether certificates of nonmedical exemption submitted by parents are valid.
Facility-Level Child Care Policies
Immunization policies at child care centers help ensure children and the broader community are protected vaccine-preventable diseases. Colorado law allows for non-medical (personal belief) exemptions to required vaccines in addition to medical exemptions. Some child care centers in Colorado have implemented policies that remove non-medical exemptions (NMEs) to vaccination to enhance their level of protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. An analysis of a immunization policies from a random sample of child cares (440 in total) in Colorado that reported their immunization data to the state health department in 2018-19 found that only 33% had complete policies on immunization and 67% did not. (A "complete" policy is one that includes information on which vaccines are required, when they are required, how parents should submit vaccine records, what consequences are in place for those not in compliance, and whether exemptions are allowed.) Child care centers should audit their policies to ensure completeness, and are encouraged to utilize standard language developed when developing their policies.