Dear parents/guardians of students in Colorado childcare, preschools, and Head Start programs for the 2022-23 school year:
We know you’re thinking of everything you need to do to ensure your student is ready for childcare and school. Getting vaccinated is an important part of their school readiness and keeps children from catching and spreading diseases that can make them sick and interfere with in-person learning. We wish you and your student a healthy school year!
Required and recommended vaccines
Colorado law requires students who attend a licensed child care, preschool, or Head Start program to be vaccinated against many diseases that vaccines can prevent unless a Certificate of Exemption is filed. For more information, visit cdphe.colorado.gov/schoolrequiredvaccines. Your student must be vaccinated against:
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP, DTP).
Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). o Hepatitis B (Hep B).
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
Pneumococcal disease (PCV13).
Colorado follows recommendations set by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. You can view the recommended vaccine schedule for children 0-6 years of age here.
Vaccines are recommended for rotavirus, hepatitis A, and influenza but are not required for child care or school entry.
Exclusion from childcare and school
Your student may be excluded from school if your childcare or school does not have an up-to-date Certificate of Immunization, Certificate of Exemption, or in-process plan on file for your student.
If someone gets sick with a vaccine-preventable disease or there is an outbreak at your student’s school and your student has not received the vaccine for that disease, they may be excluded from school activities. That could mean lost learning time for them and lost work and wages for you. For example, if your student has not received a MMR vaccine, they may be excluded from school for 21 days after someone gets sick with measles.
Talk with a healthcare provider licensed to give vaccines or your local public health agency (LPHA) about which vaccines your student needs or if you have questions. You can read about the safety and importance of vaccines at CDC websites, Child Vaccine Colorado website, Immunize For Good website, and CDPHE Colorado website.
Paying for vaccinations
If you need help finding free or low-cost vaccines and providers who give them, go to COVax4Kids.org, contact your LPHA, or call the Mile High Family Health Line at 303-692-2229 or 1-800-688-7777 to ask about Medicaid contact information. You can find your LPHA at cdphe.colorado.gov/find-your-local-public-health-agency.
Please take your student’s updated Certificate of Immunization to school every time they receive a vaccine.
Need to find your student’s vaccine record? It may be available from the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS). Visit COVaxRecords.org for more information, including directions for how to use the CIIS Public Portal to view and print your student’s vaccine record.
If your student cannot get vaccines for medical reasons, you must submit a Certificate of Medical Exemption to your school, signed by a health care provider licensed to give vaccines. You only need to submit this certificate once, unless your student’s information or school changes. You can get the certificate at cdphe.colorado.gov/vaccine-exemptions.
If you choose not to have your student vaccinated according to the current recommended schedule, you must submit a Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption to your school. Nonmedical exemptions must be submitted at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months. These recommendations expire when the next vaccines are due or when the child enrolls in kindergarten. There are two ways to file a nonmedical exemption.
File the Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption WITH a signature from an immunizing provider, OR
File the Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption received upon the completion of our online education module.
Downloadable certificates and our online education module are available at cdphe.colorado.gov/vaccine-exemptions.
How is your childcare or school doing on vaccinations?
Some parents, especially those with students who have weakened immune systems, may want to know which child cares, preschools, and Head Start programs have the highest percentage of vaccinated students. Schools must report immunization and exemption numbers (but not student names or birth dates) to the state health department annually. Schools do not control their specific immunization and exemption rates or establish the Vaccinated Children Standard described in §25-4-911, CRS. Schools must include their MMR immunization and exemption rates from the most recently completed school year in this letter. Schools may choose to also include immunization and exemption rates for other school-required vaccines. Additional immunization and exemption rates can be found at COVaxRates.org.