No Shots, No School,
In the state of Virginia there are three pathways that meet the school vaccination requirements:
You can vaccinate your child and submit their vaccination records to the school. See button below for required vaccines.
You can submit a religious exemption. Simply print out this form, fill it out and sign in front of a notary and submit to school.
Visit your doctor and see if your child qualifies for a medical exemption to vaccines.
Please note that in Virginia you do NOT need an organized religion to claim a religious exemption. Your conscience is enough to dictate a religious objection to a medical procedure. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom protects this right. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is a statement about both freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state.
What Schools Accept Exemptions?
In Virginia, the following must accept medical and religious exemptions to vaccinations:
ALL public schools from (K-12 grade) must accept exemptions.
ALL private or religious school that offers instruction at any level or grade from kindergarten through grade twelve.
ALL private or religious nursery school or preschool.
ANY private or religious child-care center required to be licensed by the Commonwealth. This is where the law gets tricky and some think that they don't have to honor the law, but in fact they still do. If a person is just a babysitter, then they get to decide what is occurring in their own home and no, they don't need to honor religious or medical exemptions. However, if a person or business is required to have a license, but opt out and choose to get a religious exemption to licensure than that child-care MUST accept exemptions and follow the law. Contact us if you have any questions, concerns or have had a school as established by Virginia law deny your exemptions.
What do I do if a School Refuses to Accept My Exemption?
If a school, as defined by law, refuses to accept your exemption:
Contact VMF and let us know, then:
Print out the § 22.1-271.2. Immunization Requirements and highlight the following section:
Section C (i) and (ii)
No certificate of immunization shall be required for the admission to school of any student if (i) the student or his parent submits an affidavit to the admitting official stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the student's religious tenets or practices; or (ii) the school has written certification from a licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or local health department that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the student's health, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization.
Also print out § 22.1-271.1. Definitions and highlight the entire definition of school.
If it's a licensed daycare that is refusing to accept your exemption, in addition to printing the above information also print out, The Department of Social Services, Standards for Licensed Daycare Manual's page 16 (click here). Highlight the following passage:
Pursuant to subsection D of § 22.1-270 of the Code of Virginia, physical examinations are not required for any child whose parent objects on religious grounds. The parent must submit a signed statement noting that the parent objects on religious grounds and certifying that to the best of the parent's knowledge the child is in good health and free from communicable or contagious disease.
If it's a unlicensed daycare who has claimed religious exemption to licensure, print out, The Department of Social Services, Information for Religiously Exempt Child Daycare Centers' page 18 (click here). Highlight the following passage:
Pursuant to subsection C of § 32.1-271.2 of the Code of Virginia, documentation of immunizations is not required for any child whose:
1. Parent submits an affidavit to the center on the current form approved by the Virginia Department of Health stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the parent's or child's religious tenets or practices. The Religious Exemption form for immunizations can be found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/health_medical/certificate_religious_exemption.pdf
2. Physician or a local health department states on a Department of Health-approved form that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the child's health, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization. The School Entrance Health Form contains a space for this statement. The form can be found at: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/immunization/documents/SchoolForm.pdf
What About College Students?
In Virginia, college students are required to be vaccinated.
All students have to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles (rubeola), German measles (rubella), and mumps according to the guidelines of the American College Health Association.
In addition, FULL TIME students need to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease and hepatitis B. With these two vaccines the student (if over 18) or the student's parents / legal guardian (if a minor) may sign a written waiver stating that he has received and reviewed detailed information on the risks associated with meningococcal disease and hepatitis B and the availability and effectiveness of any vaccine and has chosen not to be or not to have the student vaccinated.
OR student can claim a religious or medical exemption in pursuant of Section D of § 23.1-800. Health histories and immunizations required; exemptions. Print out the law, highlight Section D and let the college know that you are claiming an exemption. Depending on which one, you will have to either print out a waiver and submit it (religious) or you will need a doctor to sign off (medical).
Is Not Vaccinating My Child Medical Neglect and Grounds for CPS Investigation?
In Virginia, vaccinations and well-checks is a matter of parental choice and this is plainly spelled out in the VDSS Division of Family Services's definitions of abuse and neglect, which can be found here, CLICK HERE, in Section 2.5.1, at the bottom of page. Here is a screenshot of that section:
For more information, click below: