Citizens Count Editor

Vaccines required by NH state law

New Hampshire law requires any child enrolled in public school, private school, or child care to get vaccinated against the following diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rubella
  • Rubeola
  • Tetanus

Vaccines required by DHHS rules – and why that’s controversial

State law allows the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to require other vaccinations through a rulemaking process outside the legislature.  DHHS can add or subtract from this list without any changes to state law.

Some argue that it is inappropriate to give bureaucrats the power to require certain vaccines without democratic input through the legislature.  On the other hand, the current system gives health experts the ability to respond quickly to disease outbreaks.

Right now DHHS requires vaccines for the following diseases:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Haemophilus influenza Type b (leads to bacterial meningitis)

The debate over the hepatitis B vaccine requirement

State law forbids DHHS from requiring a vaccine for any disease “that is not infectious or transmissible from person-to-person.”  Some opponents argue that hepatitis B is so rare among children that it is inappropriate to require that vaccine.

Learn more about the Department of Health and Human Services requirements for childhood vaccinations

Financial aid for meeting state vaccination recommendations

If a family cannot afford a recommended childhood vaccine, the state will pay for it through the Immunization Program.  That program is funded through a combination of federal grants, health insurer contributions, and the state general fund of tax dollars.

Learn more about the state program to provide vaccines at no cost

Exemptions from vaccine requirements

New Hampshire law allows an exemption from vaccine requirements for medical or religious reasons.

New Hampshire does not allow parents to reject childhood vaccinations just because the parent believes vaccines are harmful.

In the event of a disease outbreak, children exempted from vaccine requirements may not attend school.

Llearn more about the medical and religious exemptions from childhood vaccination requirements

Vaccine requirements for adults

New Hampshire state law does not require adults to get vaccinated.  However, employers – particularly in the health care field – may require vaccinations as a condition of employment.  Colleges may also require students to get vaccinated. 

Some states, such as Oregon, have passed laws that forbid employers from requiring that workers get vaccinated. 

Immunization Information System

Health care providers in New Hampshire will be required to report a record of every vaccination they administer to the state Immunization Information System (IIS) - once it is up and running. The creation of the system was approved in 2016, but has been plagued by delays. 

Once active, the IIS could be used to track immunization records and identify unvaccinated people in the event of a disease outbreak. Health providers will be able to make changes to the IIS.  Schools, licensed child care agencies, and public health offices in Manchester and Nashua will have limited access to read records in the IIS.

Health providers must give patients the opportunity to opt-out of the IIS.

Vaccines at pharmacies

In New Hampshire, pharmacists may administer flu, pneumonia, chickenpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and meningitis vaccines to adults.  Pharmacists must complete certain training to administer vaccines.

Almost all other states allow pharmacists to administer these vaccines.  However, some opponents argue that vaccines should only be administered by an individual’s primary health care provider, who has complete information about a patient’s medical history and is more aware of possible adverse reactions.


"For" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

“NH should maintain current vaccine requirements.”

  • If the New Hampshire Legislature takes over the list of required vaccines, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will not be able to respond as quickly and effectively to a disease outbreak.
  • The DHHS rulemaking process for adding vaccine requirements includes an opportunity for public comment, just like the public hearings in the legislature.
  • National and international organizations, from DHHS to the World Health Organization, all agree the vaccines required in New Hampshire are safe and recommended for all children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no evidence linking vaccines and autism. On the other hand, as more parents have chosen to opt-out of vaccinations, there have been more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases
  • Private employers should have the liberty to require vaccinations as a matter of workplace safety – particularly in health care settings.  If an employee does not want to get a vaccination, the employee can always negotiate with the employer or find a new job.
  • Vaccinating children saves on health costs in the long-term, since those children do not become sick with vaccine-preventable diseases as adults.  According to the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins, increasing the number of children vaccinated against hepatitis B could save billions of dollars in lost productivity and treatment costs. 

"Against" Position

By Citizens Count Editor

“NH should change current vaccine requirements.”

  • Many states allow parents to opt out of vaccine requirements for any personal belief, not just for religious or medical reasons. 
  • Since vaccines impact individual health, the public deserves more of a say over vaccine requirements than other state rules.  The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) should not be able to add vaccine requirements without the approval of the New Hampshire Legislature, because the rules process in DHHS does not provide as many opportunities for public input as the legislative process. 
  • Requiring the hepatitis B vaccine, in particular, is an unjustified requirement for children.  Hepatitis B is far more common among adults than among children, often spread through sexual contact or illegal IV drug use.  
  • People should not have to choose between making a living and controlling their own health care.  New Hampshire should therefore prevent employers from requiring employees to get vaccinations.


Passed House

Expands the NH Vaccine Association, which currently purchases vaccines for children under the age of 19, to all adults within the state.

In Committee

Expands the immunity for health care providers who prescribe drugs or administer vaccines in response to a communicable disease that poses a threat to public health.

Interim Study

Requires the state medical examiner to investigate all sudden undetermined infant deaths for potential vaccine-related correlations.

Killed in the Senate

Modifies the authority for pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer vaccinations by including vaccines listed in the recommended adult immunization schedule by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rather than listing out specific vaccines by name.

Killed in the House

Removes tetanus from the list of legally required child vaccinations.

Killed in the House

Adds a defintion of "vaccination" and "vaccine" to the law relating to communicable disease.

Signed by Governor

Allows a pharmacy intern under the supervision of a pharmacist to administer hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Tdap, MMR, and meningococcal vaccines.

Interim Study

Establishes requirements for dispensing and substituting biological products by pharmacists. The bill defines biological products as, "a virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product, protein (except any chemically synthesized polypeptide), or analogous product, or arsphenamine or derivative of arsphenamine (or any other trivalent organic arsenic compound), applicable to the prevention, treatment, or cure of a disease or condition of human beings."

Killed in the Senate

Declares that a parent or legal guardian shall not be required to have their child immunized against hepatitis B or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Killed in the Senate

Limits the court's authority to order that a child be vaccinated over the objection of one of the parents.

Signed by Governor

Allows a pharmacy intern to administer vaccines under the direct supervision of a pharmacists.

Killed in the House

Would only allow the state to require vaccines for diphtheria, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, measles, and tetanus. Right now the Department of Health and Human Services is allowed to add other vaccine requirements, and currently requires vaccines for hepatitis B and chickenpox.

Signed by Governor

Requires licensed pharmacies to establish continuous quality improvement programs. The bill was amended to also allow pharmacists to administer hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Tdap, MMR, and meningococcal vaccines. Lastly, the bill was amended to give the Insurance Department more power and flexibility to regulate health insurance costs during federal health care reform.

Signed by Governor

Allows pharmacists to administer hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Tdap, MMR, and meningitis vaccines.

Signed by Governor

Prohibits the state from setting any vaccine requirement "for diseases that are noncommunicable in a child care or school setting, including, but not limited to, hepatitis B." Right now the Department of Health and Human Services requires all school children to be vaccinated against hepatitis B. The House amended the bill to instead forbid an immunization/vaccination requirement for diseases that are noncommunicable.

Killed in the House

Adds the MMR vaccine to the law which allows licensed pharmacists to administer vaccines. This bill was originally written to also allow pharmacists to administer hepititis, meningitis, and other vaccines.

Interim Study

Forbids employers from requiring employees to receive vaccinations.

Interim Study

Clarifies certain options relating to the immunization/vaccination registry, including the ability to opt-out, and exempts the registry from the right-to-know law.

Tabled in the Senate

Establishes an opt out option for participation in the immunization registry.

Should NH maintain current vaccine requirements?


Nicole Stephens
- Madison

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 9:14pm

How is tetanus on the list? NH law prohibits non-communicable disease from this list?

Tatiana Smith
- londonderry

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 4:17pm

I should add that where the current health policies of the CDC, the US DHHS and other regulatory bodies have brought us today to where 54% of children have chronic life-long illnesses and one in two adults will suffer from cancer in their life-time, where nosocomial infections and medical errors are a leading cause of death, these bodies can hardly be trusted with "ensuring" the health of the population any longer. They have clearly led us down the wrong path, resulting in the sickest generation of children ever in human history, with infant mortality in the US higher than that in the impoverished Cuba, and with childhood mortality by the age of 18 being 70% higher in the US than in any other developed nation. Do you want to continue down this same path? i don't!

Tatiana Smith
- londonderry

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 4:14pm

The Nuremberg Code's informed consent has been firmly adopted by the medical profession after the Nazi doctors during World War II widely experimented on human subjects resulting in untold suffering and deaths. Vaccination is a medical intervention performed on a healthy person, and it has the inherent ability to result in the injury or death of that healthy person.
In consideration of: the fact that there is NO GUARANTEE that the deliberate introduction of killed or live microorganisms and of the neuro- and immuno-toxic vaccine adjuvants and preservatives into the body of a healthy person will not compromise the health or cause the death of that person either immediately or in the future; and where very few predictors having been identified by the medical science to give advance warning that injury or death may occur; and with NO guarantee that the vaccine will indeed protect the person from contracting a disease absent ANY long-term randomized placebo-controlled studies on this subject; and in the complete absence of any long-term placebo-controlled randomized studies of the way vaccines singly or in combination act in the human body at the cellular and molecular level, and in the absence also, of ANY long-term large-scale studies of the comparative health in the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated -- in light of all of the above factors --
vaccination as a medical procedure is experimental each time it is performed on a healthy individual. In light of the fact that the vaccine makers are exempt from all liability for death or injury caused by their vaccines, and that vaccines are a HUGE profit-maker for them, and in light of the fact that ALL FOUR of the vaccine -makers are convicted felons who have paid over $35 Billion for fraud and deception of the regulatory bodies in efforts to increase the sales and profitability of their pharmaceutical drugs -- it is of PARAMOUNT importance that fully informed consent be obtained EACH AND EVERY TIME before ANY VACCINE is given. The PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE of the requirement of informed consent is further emphasized by the fact the the Federal Vaccine Court (established by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986) has awarded well over $4 billion and one hundred million in compensation to thousands of injured or killed vaccine recipients, where the awards are limited to $250 thousand per death.

Anne Owens
- Keene

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:36am

No they should not. This violates the right to liberty. Further denying children access to education based on medical choice violates their right to privacy and imposes taxation on parents without giving them access to what their taxes are paying for, which violates the constitution of NH. In other words, liberty includes body autonomy. Privacy includes the right to keep medical decisions private and public education is a right of all children of tax paying citizens. Forcing NH citizens to inject a foreign substance into their bodies without their consent or forcing them through coercion/threat/isolation is a violation of what this country stands for and violates their human rights. Where there is risk there must be choice. Consent cannot be given under duress.

Linda Camarota
- Bedford

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 7:17pm

The government should never inject an individual with drugs/vaccines without their permission & willingness. Citizens Count asks a valid question. Let’s see what NH citizens think..

Francis Murzyn
- Merrimack

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 9:59am

For some childhood issues, yes. Because of one reason or another from parents, some of the diseases from when I was a child are making a comeback. I am not sure how I feel about telling another parent how to care for the child. But there should be consequences for decisions that may put others at risk.


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Issue Status

DHHS plans to seek new bids to create a statewide vaccine registry system. After years of delays, a contract with a previous vendor expired on January 31st with the registry still unbuilt. Late in 2019, the Executive Council delayed voting on grant money for building the registry because of pressure from parents. Have an opinion on whether NH should fund a statewide vaccine registry? Contact your Executive Councilor and share your thoughts.


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