New immunization requirements in Virginia for back-to-school

Health

NORFOLK, V.a (WAVY) — Before some kids head back to school, they may need to roll up their sleeves.

A new state law changes vaccination requirements for those entering kindergarten, seventh grade and their senior year of high school.

“These are not new vaccines. These are not new recommendations to protect our children. What is new is the state legislation,” explained Dr. Douglas Mitchell, Director of the CHKD Children’s Medical Group.

Here’s what’s new this school year regarding immunizations:

  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MenACWY) Vaccine – Effective July 1, 2021, a minimum of 2 doses of MenACWY vaccine. The first dose should be administered prior to entering 7th grade. The final dose should be administered prior to entering 12th grade.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine – Effective July 1, 2021, a complete series of 2 doses of HPV vaccine is required for students entering the 7th grade. The first dose shall be administered before the child enters the 7th grade. After reviewing educational materials approved by the Board of Health, the parent or guardian, at the parent’s or guardian’s sole discretion, may elect for the child not to receive the HPV vaccine.
  • Rotavirus Vaccine – This vaccine is required ONLY for children less than 8 months of age. Effective July 1, 2021, 2 or 3 doses of Rotavirus Vaccine (dependent upon the manufacturer) is required.
  • Hepatitis A (HAV) Vaccine – Effective July 1, 2021, a minimum of 2 doses of Hepatitis A vaccine. The first dose should be administered at age 12 months or older.

“Delivering these vaccines truly does keep some of our most vulnerable people safe and healthy,” Dr. Mitchell told WAVY.

The have been recommended by the CDC and American Academy of pediatrics for years but were not mandated by schools. The new requirements align Virginia with that medical guidance.

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Mitchel tells parents, “If you’ve already been up to date on vaccines and have been doing these on schedule there is nothing new that the family needs to do.”

If however, you’ve missed any shots, and during the pandemic many have, you will want to check with your pediatrician. If it’s determined that you’re behind schedule Dr. Mitchell advises you make an appointment asap. “This is crunch time,” he said.

Immunization appointments are filling up fast at doctor’s offices. Without a shot, your child may not be able to start school on time.

You can also get the shots at your local health department. Several are also holding vaccine clinics this month.

Here’s information from the VDH:

VDH back-to-school vaccine clinic information

Chesapeake schools information:

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