Massachusetts law about vaccination & immunization

Laws, regulations, cases and web sources on vaccination and immunization law.

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Table of Contents


COVID-19 In-Home Vaccination Program, Mass. Department of Public Health.
In-home vaccinations are available for anyone who has difficulty getting to or using a community vaccination location.

Immunizations for respiratory diseases, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences.
"This page includes data on immunizations against COVID-19, influenza, and RSV during the current respiratory season."

Vaccines for COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Information on different vaccines, getting a vaccine, possible side effects, professional resources, and more.

What you should know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws
Employers have the legal right to mandate that their employees receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to guidance released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Dec. 16, 2020.

Best bet

Vaccines and immunizations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Includes: contraindications and precautions; immunization schedules; common questions; vaccine information statements (benefits, risks and side effects) in English and Spanish; vaccines for travelers; publications including Epidemiology and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases (the "Pink Book"); videos, webcasts, podcasts; and links to additional resources.

Additional Resources

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.76, § 15 Vaccination and immunization of students

MGL c.76, § 15C Immunization of college health science students

MGL c.76, § 15D Immunization of college students for meningococcal disease

MGL c.111, § 6 Power to define diseases deemed dangerous to public health; control and prevention

MGL c.111, § 24M Mass. Immunization Information System, a computerized registry

MGL c.111, § 181 Enforcement of vaccination of inhabitants of towns

MGL c.111, § 182 Vaccination of inmates and employees of various institutions

MGL c.111, § 183 Exemptions to sections 181 and 182

MGL c.112, § 12C Immunity of physician or nurse administering immunization from liability

Massachusetts regulations

101 CMR 23 COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations for staff at certain agency facilities

105 CMR 220 Immunization of students before admission to school

105 CMR 222 Massachusetts Immunization Information System

105 CMR 430.152 Required immunizations for campers and staff

Federal laws and regulations

42 USC §§ 300aa-1 - 300aa-6 National vaccine program

42 USC §§ 300aa-10 - 300aa-34 National vaccine injury compensation program

42 CFR §§ 100.1 - 100.3 Vaccine injury compensation

Selected cases

Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 US 11 (1905) 
Legal precedent for U.S. compulsory vaccination laws. Jacobson challenged mandatory smallpox vaccination as an unreasonable invasion of his liberty. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the vaccination program was constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, ruling that the program had a real or substantial relation to the protection of the public health and safety.

Morin v. MGH Institute of Health Professionals and Partners Healthcare System, Inc. (Mass. Super.), 15 Mass. Law Rptr. 417 (2002)
MGL c. 76, § 15C requires students in health science programs, who come in contact with patients, to be immunized against various communicable diseases. Here, the court construes the language in that statute that exempts students on the basis of religious beliefs.

Robinson v. Children's Hospital Boston, U.S. Dist. Ct., Mass. (April 5, 2016)
A hospital employee was not entitled to a religious exemption from a requirement for all employees who worked with patients to get a flu shot. The court held that the hospital had given the employee reasonable accommodation and that the exemption would cause an undue hardship for the hospital.


Adverse reaction reporting form, Federal Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System.
Used to report significant adverse events that occurred after vaccination of adult or child.

English - MIIS objection (or withdrawal of objection) form, Mass. Dept. of Public Health.
Used to object to sharing your immunization information with healthcare providers other than the provider who administered your immunization(s).

Vaccination exemption forms

  • There are no medical exemption forms.
    As provided on the Mass. Department of Public Health's School immunizations web page:

    "Medical exemptions come from the student’s doctor and document a contraindication — the reason why an individual cannot medically receive the vaccine."

    This may be similar for adults. Contact the organization you are requesting an exemption from to see what their requirements are.
  • Religious exemption forms.
    Unless one is provided by an organization, there is no official form. A letter from the parent/guardian or the individual seeking exemption can be used. The religious exemption request should state in writing that a vaccine conflicts with the individual’s sincerely held religious belief.

Web resources

Adverse effects of vaccines: evidence and causality, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2011. 
Concludes that "few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines."

Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).
This federal program was created so that, in the unlikely event that you experience a serious injury from a covered "countermeasure", you may be considered for benefits. A countermeasure is a vaccination, medication, device, or other item recommended to diagnose, prevent or treat a declared pandemic, epidemic or security threat.

Explaining HIPAA: No, it doesn’t ban questions about your vaccination status,” Washington Post, May 22, 2021. 

FALQ: Vaccination law in the United States, Law Library of Congress, February 2015. 
Provides links to federal, state, and local laws on vaccination, with explanations and annotations.

Immunizations policy issues overview, National Conference of State Legislatures.
Links to information about states' school requirements, vaccine safety, immunization registries, and more.

No, it is not illegal for businesses to require proof of vaccination," CapRadio (NPR), May 25, 2021.

Responding to the childhood vaccination crisis: Legal frameworks and tools in the context of parental vaccine refusal, 63 Buff. L. Rev 881, 2015. (updated 2016).

School immunizations, Mass. Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences.
Information about school immunization requirements and data.

States allowing a pharmacist to administer vaccines,, 2019.

Travelers' health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Covers all aspects of international travel health information, including vaccinations (routine, recommended and required), precautions, diseases related to travel, and access to the "Yellow Book", a comprehensive reference guide.

Vindicating the vaccine: Injecting strength into mandatory school vaccination requirements to safeguard the public health, 57 B.C.Law Review 261, January 2016.

Print sources

Municipal law and practice, 5th ed. (Mass Practice v. 18A), Thomson/West, 2006 with supplement.
Chapter 19, Public Health, section 19.3. Vaccinations and vaccines.

Vaccine, vaccination, and immunization law, by Brian Abramson. The Bureau of National Affairs, 2021.

What lawyers need to know about vaccination mandates in the workplace and schools, MCLE, section 2, 2020.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about vaccination & immunization

Last updated: February 29, 2024

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