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What are the immunization rules?

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2017

You must show proof of immunization (shots) or an appointment for immunization for every pre-school child in your family who is on the TAFDC grant. Proof includes a note from the doctor (on letterhead), a copy of a bill for a well-child visit, or a DTA form signed by your doctor. You can also meet the immunization rules if DTA pays for licensed child care or you have a statement from a Head Start or licensed child care program that the child is enrolled. 106 C.M.R. § 203.800. See Being excluded from the assistance unit on the consequences of sanctions for not meeting the immunization requirements.

You do not have to have your child immunized if it would violate your religious beliefs, if a doctor determines that your child should not be immunized for medical reasons, or if you decide after consulting with a doctor that you do not want your child immunized for health reasons. If you do not wish to immunize your child for these reasons, you will be asked to provide a written statement from you or your doctor. 106 C.M.R. § 203.800(B).

The state is supposed to make sure you can get your child’s shots. Be sure to tell your DTA worker if you are having trouble scheduling an appointment for shots or getting the doctor to verify that your child’s shots are up to date.

You do not have to provide proof of immunization for school-age children. 106 C.M.R. § 203.800.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • The immunization requirement does not apply to children who are not on the grant because they get SSI benefits, or because of their non-citizen status.
  • You have 60 days from when you are told about the immunization requirement to provide proof of immunization or the reason why your child should not be immunized. 106 C.M.R. § 203.800; DTA Operations Memo 2012-17 (Apr. 25, 2012).

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