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Can A Charter Organization Require Vaccinations as a requirement of Troop Membership?

I recently was in a discussion about the powers of a Charter Organization and with this Covid-19 the subject of vaccinations came out. Can a CO require their Scouts to be vaccinated?

Here’s an article about Immunizations I read on Bryan on Scouting:

The article is straightforward and I’m aware of the parental waiver. There are families that have either a religious or philosophical position about not taking vaccinations and while I respect that it did create a conversation.

Can a COR require vaccinations as membership of a Troop? I’ve been reading through the guidelines and can’t find a definitive answer.

This is more of a curiosity. Nothing imminent.

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I Suppose a Charter can require whatever they want? Like many churches and extra training. My charter required extra training this go around BUT just for employees that are also in the units.

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Still waiting on guidance from the BSA and our Archdiocese.

I believe they can. There are some schools that in the past have required vaccines. If you wanted to meet at the school, everyone had to be vaccinated.

I don’t know for sure, but since this could be considered an additional safety rule, yes. They are allowed to have more stringent training requirements like you said or have other stricter safety rules.

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Making the Covid-19 vaccination a requirement is going to be a complicated issue. My oldest son (Eagle Scout Class of 2017) is at one of the top STEM colleges in the country and the topic of making a Covid-19 vaccination came up on a Zoom call with the college leaders yesterday. Because the Covid-19 Vaccine was approved under Emergency Use Authorization act with a shorter clinical trial process, there could be some legal implications if it is deemed mandatory.

I am just hoping the vaccine will get us on track to start our full programming again. I’m in Los Angeles County. We have not camped as a Troop since the first week of March. No in-person activites allowed still. It is really bad in LA right now. Be safe out there.


Just to be clear, I wasn’t speaking exclusively about Covid. I was referring about all vaccinations that are generally administered.

As I said, this is more of a theoretical conversation topic.

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I don’t think so. If you can get a vaccine waiver for school due to religious reasons, then I can’t see it holding much water. I think even in BSA summer camps all that is required is a tetanus in the previous 10 years, right?

Would be a little hard to decline on religious grounds if your Chartered Org is your church, tho…

The summer camp is different than the CO. The CO holds authority over both adult and youth registration / membership.

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Likely true. Since youth and adults are not necessarily limited to being members of the same congregation, or even the same faith, it’s still a valid point for many cases. I’m not a member of the same faith as our chartering org, although the issue of a religious-grounds vaccine waiver wouldn’t apply to me, either. I’m all about vaccines. :^)

ETA: Oof. The auto-mistake was strong in this message. :wink:

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Not really - there is no requirement to be of the same faith as your chartered org.


I would see this as another hurdle to becoming a scout. The handbook says nothing about vaccines being required. Didn’t think we could add requirements, maybe I am wrong.


Advancement requirements can’t be added. Chartered Organizations are allowed to add additional safety requirements to their units.


Sounds like a HIPPA violation to me, I’m no lawyer nor do I play one on the internet or TV. The CO has no business looking in to the medical records of any scout or scouter. It’s none of their business as to who has been vaccinated or not. Personal medical information is confidential. Even health forms for camp are not allowed to be disseminated to non medical staff.

If I’m reading this correctly the BSA does have some requirements in this area:

This specific section:

ARTICLE TWO: When attending Boy Scouts of America programs or activities that require an annual health and medical record or specialty physical exam to be completed, it is required to have current tetanus immunization. The following immunizations are strongly recommended.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria, pertussis
  • Meningococcal
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • Varicella
  • Influenza

I guess the question that needs to be asked is what do you say to parents that don’t want to expose their Scout to another Scout and their family members if they are not getting vaccinated IAW with recommended guidelines?

The BSA Health Form is Pretty in Depth:

HIPPA only applies to medical institutions. In this case, it is a safety rule. Chartered Org have totally leeway who who is and who isn’t a member. They have approve not only being a chartered org each year, but also the roster. As vaccines are safety related (life and death), they are allowed to be more stringent than BSA policies. If you don’t like a CO’s additional policy, you could always join a different unit.


A tetanus booster shot is recommended every 10 years. You can’t catch tetanus from another person. I would guess that most school sports physical exams require a tetanus shot for obvious reasons. I don’t know what IAW is. My point still stands…the CO can not look at my health form, the CO has no business asking about my health status or the health status of my kids. You may also be exempted from all immunizations for reasons I do not know, per the BSA health form…which is very comprehensive by the way.

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In Accordance With (IAW)

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Matt I respect your opinion on the matter but I don’t have to share my medical history or the medical history of my children with anyone, that is my right. If the CO wants to ban me for that, well that’s just the price I pay. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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