Over 4,009,997 readers this year!

Wyoming bills seek to limit school vaccine requirements, create mask mandate exemptions for students


CASPER, Wyo. — Bills have been drafted for consideration during the Wyoming Legislature’s upcoming special session that take aim at vaccine and mask requirements in schools.

House Bill 1010 and its mirror bill in the Senate would require that state and county health officers grant waivers to any K-12 student at the written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian. The language of the bill would require that such waivers be granted within seven days of the request.

The bill would also allow parents and guardians to request waivers from any immunizations required in the state. The draft legislation would amend Wyoming law such that parents or guardians could request the exemption for any reason, with no requirement that this request be for religious or medical reasons. State and county health officers would be required to grant the exemption within seven days of receiving a written request from a student’s parent or legal guardian.

The bill as drafted would leave intact existing law that allows health officials to exclude un-immunized students from school when there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Another piece of legislation, House Bill 1017 and its mirror bill in the Senate, would revoke the ability of school boards, school districts and the state superintendent to issue rules intended to limit the spread of contagious diseases. The bill would give that power solely to state, county or local health officers.

The special session is set to begin on Tuesday with a variety of vaccine mandate–related legislation proposed for consideration.

Heading into the special session, Wyoming is seeing the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita and the third highest transmission rate per capita over the past seven days, according to CDC data.

Wyoming has the second lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country, according to the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine tracker. 43.5% of people in Wyoming are fully vaccinated, the lowest rate in the country with the exception of West Virginia, where 41% of people are fully vaccinated.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.