DC Health has updated the definition of compliance with the school immunization requirement for the 2023-24 school year. This change is meant to simplify and streamline enforcement of this requirement.
Revised Compliance Definition
The District of Columbia follows the immunization recommendations of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). As soon as children are old enough that a vaccine is recommended, that vaccine is considered “due.” DC’s Immunization Information System (DOCIIS) provides information about which vaccines are currently due, as well as when vaccines will be due in the future.
Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, once a student is due for a vaccine, that student will be considered non-compliant with DC’s school immunization mandate. DC Health will no longer differentiate between “due” and “overdue” in the determination of compliance. As a result of this change in the definition of compliance, the number of students considered non-compliant will initially increase. However, the change will simplify assessment of compliance and bring DC into closer alignment with other jurisdictions.
Limiting Temporary Exclusion
In the 2023-24 school year, only non-compliant students in grades pre-K 3, Kindergarten, 7, and 11 will be eligible for temporary exclusion. These grades were selected because they occur soon after age bands in which vaccines are first recommended. Most students in these grades will not “age into” non-compliance during the school year.
ACIP recommends that children receive their first dose of MenACWY at 11 or 12 years of age; in this age range, children are considered “due” for this vaccine. Previously children were considered non-compliant only after reaching their 13th birthday, which is when the vaccine would be marked as “overdue.” Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, children who have not received this vaccine will be considered non-compliant when they reach their 11th birthday. However, while most children reach their 11th birthday during 5th or 6th grade, they will not face temporary exclusion from school until entering 7th grade.