State Vaccination Requirements and Exemption Law Database, 2011 (ICPSR 34486)

Principal Investigator(s): Yang, Y. Tony, George Mason University


The primary objective of this project was to prepare a complete and comprehensive database of state laws pertaining to immunization requirements and exemptions. To that end, the LexisNexis Academic search engine was used to search statutory and administrative materials for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using the search term "immunization" together with other relevant terms. That search retrieved 1,991 laws whose characteristics were coded in the database by project staff. This data collection comprises a data file with the coded information and a ZIP archive which contains 1,991 PDF files with the full text of the laws.

After an initial review, the project staff categorized the retrieved laws into three groups. Group 1 consists of laws not applicable to human immunization, such as laws related to immunity from prosecution, vaccination of animals, and state sovereign immunity. Group 2 comprises laws with provisions related to specific vaccination requirements and exemptions as to which vaccines should be given to whom. Lastly, Group 3 covers vaccination laws without provisions related to specific vaccination requirements or exemptions as to which vaccines should be given to whom, for example, laws with provisions for immunization registries, annual reporting requirements, and access to and financing of vaccines.

The amount and type of information recorded about a law in the data file depends on its group classification. For every law in all three groups, the data file identifies the group, names the PDF file with the text of the law, and names the state to which the law applies. For Group 2 and Group 3, the data file also describes the topics covered by the law, the year it came into effect, and whether or not the law is current or repealed. Additional information for Group 2 describes target populations, target institutions, applicable vaccines, and exemption characteristics. The data file also includes brief textual descriptions of the Group 2 laws.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS1:  Data File - Download All Files (12.832 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup    Other
DS2:  Full Text of the Laws - Download All Files (63.119 MB)

Study Description


Yang, Y. Tony. State Vaccination Requirements and Exemption Law Database, 2011. ICPSR34486-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-02-22.

Persistent URL:

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This study was funded by:

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (68855)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    communicable diseases, immunization, law, public health, public health law, vaccines

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2011

Date of Collection:   

  • 2011

Universe:    State statutes and regulations pertaining to vaccinations in the United States, including statutes and regulations of the District of Columbia.

Data Collection Notes:

The original database is online at (the password is "solstice").


Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2013-02-22

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