Washington, DC: School Vaccine Mandate


The Washington, DC, government enacted legislation to encourage childhood COVID-19 vaccination by implementing a school vaccination requirement.


Washington, DC, boasted comparatively high COVID-19 vaccination rates within the United States in 2021, but vaccination rates for children lagged, necessitating action to boost child vaccination.


The Council of the District of Columbia enacted D.C. Act 24-280 “Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2021” in December 2021, then Mayor Muriel Bowser signed Act 24-280 into law. The act mandates vaccines to attend public, private, and charter schools for age groups that have full FDA vaccine approval for the 2022-2023 school year onward, by adding COVID-19 to the list of existing, required immunizations. At the time of enactment, children ages 12 and older were eligible for the mandate. In November 2022, the DC Council voted to delay vaccine mandate enforcement until the 2023-2024 school year. Before the act was delayed, families were set to receive a non-compliance notice less than two months before act enforcement to alert them that their child would not be permitted to attend school. Outside of Washington, DC, there are no states with student vaccine mandates (as of May 2023).


This act made a negative incentive for not being vaccinated visible on a district-wide level, especially as the start of the 2023-2024 school year draws near.

Note that as of February 2024, this mandate was repealed.

Supplemental Resources

Years: 2021, 2022, 2023

Locations: D.C.

Programmatic Areas: Adolescent Immunization, Communication, COVID-19, Public Health Functions, school immunizations, Schools

Key Words: Adolescents, Communication, conditional entrance, COVID-19, Health Promotion, outbreak management, school entry requirements, school immunizations, Schools

Evidence Based: No

Evaluations: No

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