Virginia health officials remind parents to get students vaccinated

Where and how you can get your kids vaccinated locally

ROANOKE, Va. – Kids will be heading back to classrooms soon, and the Virginia Department of Health is reminding parents about the immunization requirements for students.

Virginia state law requires specific immunizations that students, depending on their age group, must have to enroll in school. Unless there is a religious exemption, getting immunizations and making sure they are up to date are the first steps of a child’s early education. Though the vaccination requirements of young adults may not be as obvious a step, they are equally as important.

“You think about getting immunizations as a baby, and that’s certainly the longest list of immunizations. But there are staggered doses that you continue to get as you get older,” said Christie Wills, communications officer for Roanoke City and Allegheny health districts.

Experts say vaccinations are necessary to prevent serious diseases, like measles and whooping cough.

“All of our health department offices in all our jurisdictions offer back-to-school vaccines. You just check in, give them a call, and they can schedule you for an appointment,” said Wills.

Last year, there was a change in urgency when VDH added several new vaccination requirements for students going into kindergarten, 7th grade, and 12th grade.

You can see those new requirements below:

  • Kindergarten: Two two “properly spaced” doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine
  • 7th grade: Proof of their first dose of the HPV vaccine, one tetanus booster, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, and their first dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • 12th grade: Booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine

Wills explained that going to the doctor’s office for casual check-ups was not as much of a focus during the height of the pandemic. Now that normality, in some sense, is back, prerequisites to school enrollment are too.

There will be a Back-to-School Extravaganza at William Fleming High School on Saturday, Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where the health department will be providing Back-to-School immunizations while supplies last.

Immunizations are also available at your local health department or from your family pediatrician. You can find more information here.

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