A vaccine exemption is for those who do not vaccinate or selectively vaccinate. It is to be used in place of an immunization record, for daycares, preschools and/or K-12 schools that are licensed or certified through the state.
The state of Kentucky recognizes medical and religious exemptions.
KRS 214.036 states
Nothing contained in KRS 158.035, 214.010, 214.020, 214.032 to 214.036, and 214.990 shall be construed to require the testing for tuberculosis or the immunization of any child at a time when, in the written opinion of his or her attending medical provider, such testing or immunization would be injurious to the child's health. Nor shall KRS 158.035, 214.010, 214.020, 214.032 to 214.036, and 214.990 be construed to require the immunization of any child whose parents are opposed to medical immunization against disease, and who object by a written sworn statement to the immunization of such child on religious grounds.
902 KAR 2:060 is the administrative regulation that outlines "immunization schedules for attending child day care centers, certified family child care homes, other licensed facilities which care for children, preschool programs, and public and private primary and secondary schools." Section 3 of the regulation includes specific information on exceptions and exemptions to the vaccine requirements.
Section 3. Exceptions and Exemptions to the Required Immunization Schedules in Section 2.
(5) A Commonwealth of Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status marked to designate a medical exemption shall be issued for a child with a temporary or permanent medical contraindication to receiving a vaccine.
(6)(b) An EPID 230A form, Commonwealth of Kentucky Parent or Guardian’s Declination on Religious Grounds to Required Immunizations, shall:
1. Be valid for the requirements of Section 2 of this administrative regulation;
2. List the immunizations that a parent or guardian objects to being administered to a child based on religious grounds;
3. Be an original document written, sworn, and signed before a notary public; and
4. Be submitted at the time of enrollment in a child care facility or school.
According to Cabinet for Health and Family Services during a public meeting in 2017, it’s up to each school/school district to decide if they will accept a written statement (as provided for in KRS 214.036), the official form that CHFS provides (EPID 230A), or both. Some parents/guardians turn in their own written statement signed in front of a notary. You do NOT have to explain your beliefs or state what religion you follow.
Here is a sample written statement: SAMPLE STATEMENT
The state provided form for religious exemptions is EPID 230A "Commonwealth of Kentucky Parent or Guardian’s Declination on Religious Grounds to Required Immunizations." This is the form that daycares, preschools, and K-12 schools will require if they will not accept a written sworn statement.
The parent or guardian must initial and date beside each vaccine being declined, and sign the form in front of a notary public. Notary services are usually available at banks (often free if you are an account holder), UPS stores, and some libraries.
No medical provider signature is required as of 2017. This form is only applicable for daycares, preschools, and public and private K-12 schools.
Click here to go to the the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for forms in English and Spanish, which are the second and third options in the below image, respectively. You will need to scroll down the page to access the links.
Because the CHFS website and links change frequently, you can also download the form from Google Drive here.
A medical exemption must be authorized by qualified medical provider. KRS 214.036 states, in summary, "Nothing shall be construed to require the... immunization of any child at a time when, in the written opinion of his or her attending medical provider, [it] would be injurious to the child's health."
The state form EPID 230 the "Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status," contains a checkbox for "Medical Exemption." This is the same form used to document all vaccines that a child has received.
Excerpt of the Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status.
The form can be signed by a physician, APRN, PA, pharmacist, LHD administrator, RN or LPN designee. This is done entirely at the provider's discretion. Medical exemptions are fairly rare as most providers, even if sympathetic to vaccine reactions, are wary to impart them given the current controversial climate surrounding vaccines.
An ideal situation would be to have both a written statement from your child's provider as well as the signed EPID 230.
According to state law, ALL public AND private day cares, preschools, head start, and K-12 schools must accept exemptions. This applies to ALL public school. If a non-public school is registered with the Kentucky Department of Education and has a KDE issued school number, then the school is required to comply with state laws. Very few schools are not registered with KDE. Search KDE registered schools here.
Daycares and some preschools are licensed or certified through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Division of Childcare. Verify if your daycare or preschool is regulated through the Division of Childcare here.
If a school or daycare claims that it must follow the law regarding vaccination for attendance, then they must follow the law for exemptions to required vaccinations. It is a common misconception that if a school or daycare does not receive state/federal funding that they do not need to follow exemption laws. This is NOT TRUE since the state law regarding exemptions makes no exceptions. Unfortunately, however, the state laws regarding exemptions do not impose any penalties for schools that do not abide by the laws. Non-public schools may be emboldened to disregard exemption laws if they perceive no repercussions for doing so.
UPDATE March 2021: The Kentucky Department of Education states that they do not enforce the laws related to religious exemptions regarding non-public schools. This is a change from information we have received from KDE in the past. KMFC is still working to identify other state agencies that may be enforcing this law. It is likely that the Department for Public Health under the Cabinet for Health and Family Services should be the enforcer of this law, as they oversee the vaccine requirements for daycare and school. However, whether DPH will take any steps to address schools that do not abide by the exemption laws remains to be seen. In the meantime, this leaves families with no recourse in the meantime except to take legal action if a non-public school refuses to accept a religious exemption.
Homeschools in KY are legally defined as private schools and private schools are required to keep either exemptions or immunization records on file. While we are unaware of an instance in which homeschoolers have been asked to produce an exemption for their homeschooled students, we still err on the side of caution and recommend homeschools keep an exemption on file for each student.
Homeschoolers are required to turn in an exemption if they participate in school/county-sponsored extra curricular activities, receive special education services through the school district, etc.