Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane reminded parents to make sure their children’s immunizations are up to date — especially students and young children subject to new requirements that went into effect on July 1.
“I encourage school divisions to collaborate with local health districts to provide multiple opportunities for children and students to receive all of the required immunizations and booster shots before the beginning of the school year,” Lane said. “Many of our divisions are already doing this by taking advantage of summer learning and nutrition programs to increase convenience for parents and children, especially for families that rely on school-based clinics and public health agencies for much of their care.”
To align with recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the 2020 General Assembly passed House Bill 1090 amending Virginia’s immunization requirements for attending public and private schools, child care centers, nursery schools, family home day care centers, and developmental centers.
The 2020 legislation amended the Code of Virginia to require the following new immunizations and booster shots:
*Two doses of properly spaced human papillomavirus vaccine for all children. The first dose is required before the child enters the seventh grade.
*Two or three properly spaced doses of rotavirus vaccine, depending on the manufacturer, for children up to eight months of age.
*Two properly spaced doses of hepatitis A vaccine. The first dose must be administered at age 12 months or older. The new hepatitis A vaccine requirement is an addition to the existing kindergarten immunization requirements.
*Two properly spaced doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine. The first is required prior to entry to the seventh grade. The second dose is required prior to entry to the twelfth grade.
In addition, VDH and VDOE have created a Healthy Back-to-School webpage to help parents keep their children healthy this summer and prepare them for returning to school. The site provides resources about immunizations, COVID-19, well-child visits, routine oral care and mental health. There also is a “Back to School Checklist” to help parents track and organize back-to-school tasks.
The new immunization requirements do not include the vaccination against COVID-19. While the CDC recommends the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children aged 12 and up, Virginia state law does not require COVID-19 vaccines for enrollment in public schools.