Step-by-Step Guide for Childcare and School Staff Verifying Required Immunizations

This page provides a step-by-step guide to help childcare and school staff verify and document immunization status of children at their site. Each step includes resources, handouts, and job aids needed to assist with enforcing immunization requirements, maintaining immunization records, and submitting reports. 


Step 1

Use the Parents' Guide to Immunizations handout* (childcare or TK/K-12) to notify parents of California vaccine requirements. This handout can be given to parents and guardians as a resource to remind them of which vaccines are needed by age or grade.

*Visit our Parent and Guardian School Vaccine Resources web page for Parent Guides in additional languages and more parent-friendly resources for school vaccine requirements 


Step 2

Ask parents/guardians to provide a copy of the child's Immunization Record (Yellow Card).** Use the immunization record to complete the California Pre-Kindergarten and School Immunization Record (Blue Card) listed below in Step 3. It is important to remember that additional vaccines may be required for continued attendance.

Parents may also submit medical exemption (e.g., CAIR-ME) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) documents for review. 

**Tips for finding immunization records can be found on our Parents and Guardians School Vaccine Resources web page.


Step 3

Use the child's/student's immunization record to transcribe/document the dates for each vaccine received onto the California Pre-Kindergarten and School Immunization Record Card (Blue Card). A blue card needs to be completed for each child/student at your site. Refer to the back of the blue card for detailed directions.

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Step 4

Use the California School Immunization Requirements Guide (Pre-Kindergarten/Childcare OR TK/K-12 as appropriate) to compare the dates and doses of vaccines noted on the Blue Card to determine if the child/student meets the California immunization requirements.

*In limited circumstances, some children who have not received one or more required immunizations may attend child care or school conditionally while they watch up on these immunizations. 

Parents Letter for Missed Vaccines

Step 5 

If immunization requirements are not met, the student cannot be admitted or attend child care or school.  Inform parents/guardians of missing vaccines or documentation and refer them to their child's healthcare provider. 

The following Letter to Parents/Guardians: Immunizations Needed Template can also be filled out and given to parents/guardians to let them know which immunizations/doses their child needs.


Step 6

Keep a completed Blue Card on file for every child/student enrolled at your site, including students who are home-schooled, participating in independent study, or with an IEP status.


Step 7

Admit only children who:

  • Have received all required immunizations, have a valid/active IEP, or are enrolled in either an independent study or a home-based private school.
  • Are too young to receive required immunizations or are not currently due for any immunizations but will require doses at a later date. (See the California Conditional Admissions FAQs for more information.); or
  • Have received a medical exception and submitted documentation of a valid medical exemption for required immunization(s).  Learn more about medical exemptions.

Make a note to follow up on children who were not due for any immunizations/doses when admitted (conditionally admitted) but have pending doses due later.

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Step 8

Submit Immunization Assessment Reports every year in the fall to CDPH's Shots for Schools

To learn more about annual immunization reporting, visit the San Diego Schools and Pre-Kindergarten Training Website 

See the California Immunization Handbook for more information.

Contact the San Diego Immunization Unit via e-mail or call (866) 358-2966.
To request materials, please go to the Immunization Materials page.

Contact the Epidemiology School Response Team via e-mail or call (619) 692-8636.
To request materials, please go to the Educational Materials page.