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Colorado School Requirements

Some of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) to keep your child healthy are also required by Colorado law for children attending Colorado child care, preschool or school to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable disease. When we immunize our children against infectious diseases, we give them the opportunity to learn and grow in a healthy environment.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) provides a letter for parents to let you know which vaccines your child will be required to have in order to attend a center or school in 2015-16. This should have been sent to you by your school or child care. Once your child has received his or her required immunizations, make sure you have an immunization record for both your child’s personal health record and for the school which you will provide at registration.

For answers to frequently asked questions, college entry requirements, HIPAA and school immunization laws, the Colorado Immunization Manual, and parent letters in multiple languages, visit the Colorado Immunization Branch's School Immunizations page.

For questions about your child’s required immunizations, please contact your child's school or child care center or the Colorado Immunization Branch.

Did you know?
Colorado parents can compare immunization rates when choosing a school or licensed child care facility for their child. A new law requires all schools and licensed child care facilities to disclose their immunization and vaccine exemption rates upon request. That means that anyone – including parents! – can simply call and ask for the facility-wide rates. Parents consider a variety of factors when deciding where to send their child for school or child care, and now immunization and exemption rates can be part of that decision.

Why is this important?
School communities with higher vaccine exemption rates are more likely to experience an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease (VPD). A VPD outbreak puts all children – including vaccinated children – at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Transparency around school and licensed child care immunization rates is especially critical for the parents of a child who is immunocompromised, too young to be vaccinated, or medically fragile.


How do I know if a facility's immunization rate is high enough?
When enough people in a community are vaccinated against a disease, those who are vaccinated can provide a shield of protection for those who cannot be vaccinated or have weaker immune systems. This shield helps reduce the risk that a VPD will enter a community and spread to others. Pregnant women, babies, children and adults with weakened immune systems, children with certain allergies, and the elderly all rely on vaccinated members of their communities to shield them from potentially serious illnesses. This phenomenal shield is known as community immunity. For each disease, depending on how contagious it is, a particular percentage of the population must be vaccinated in order to keep it at bay.

Disease Minimum Level for Community Immunity Average Colorado Immunization Level* Your Child Care/School Immunization Rate
Measles 95% 86.0%
Mumps 86% 86.0%
Pertussis 94% 81.2%
Polio 95% 90.3%
Chickenpox (Varicella) 90% 84.8%

*2013 National Immunization Survey

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