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Explanation of Immunization Laws

Statute References*:
Virginia Code §22.1-271.2§22.1-271.4, and §32.1-46

Health requirements for home-instructed, exempted, and excused children

All home-educated children in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to be immunized, including those taught by a certified tutor and those under religious exemption. However, there are exemptions:

  • “In addition to compliance with the requirements of subsection B, C, or H of §22.1-254 or §22.1-254.1 any parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of a child being home instructed, exempted or excused from school attendance shall comply with the immunization requirements provided in §32.1-46 in the same manner and to the same extent as if the child has been enrolled in and is attending school.” §22.1-271.4
  •  “The parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis of each child within this Commonwealth shall cause such child to be immunized by vaccine….”§32.1-46


Designated Immunizations

The Commonwealth requires the following immunizations:

§32.1-46 The parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis of each child within this Commonwealth shall cause such child to be immunized by vaccine against:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis before the age of one year;
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b before he attains the age of thirty months;
  • Measles (rubeola), German measles (rubella) and mumps before the age of two years;
  • Hepatitis B before their first birthday for children born on or after January 1, 1994;
  • A second dose of measles (rubeola) vaccine prior to first entering kindergarten or first grade and a child who has not yet received a second dose of measles (rubeola) vaccine must receive a second dose prior to entering the sixth grade;
  • Varicella zoster (chicken pox), not earlier than the age of twelve months for children born on or after January 1, 1997; children who have evidence of immunity as demonstrated by laboratory confirmation of immunity or a reliable medical history of disease are exempt from such requirement.
  • After July 1, 2001, all children who have not yet received immunization against hepatitis B shall receive such immunization prior to entering sixth grade.
  • Three doses of properly spaced human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for females. The first dose shall be administered before the child enters the sixth grade. “Because the human papillomavirus is not communicable in a school setting, a parent or guardian, at the parent’s or guardian’s sole discretion, may elect for the parent’s or guardian’s child not to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine, after having reviewed materials describing the link between the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer approved for such use by the Board [of education].”



Parents are NOT required to submit proof of immunization unless the local division superintendent has specifically requested it.

“Upon request by the division superintendent, the parent shall submit to such division superintendent documentary proof of immunization in compliance with §32.1-46” §22.1-271.4.


Administrative Agents

A physician, registered nurse, or health department personnel may give immunizations.

“The parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis may have such child immunized by a physician or registered nurse or may present the child to the appropriate local health department, which shall administer the required vaccines without charge” §32.1-46.



Persons giving immunizations must provide documentation of the type of immunization given, numbers of doses, date, and any further immunizations required.

“A physician, registered nurse or local health department administering a vaccine required by this section shall provide to the person who presents the child for immunizations a certificate which shall state the diseases for which the child has been immunized, the numbers of doses given, the dates when administered and any further immunizations indicated.” §32.1-46


Information Sharing

Certain designated persons may share confidential immunization information including the child’s name, address, phone number, birth date, social security number, and the parents’ names.

“For the purpose of protecting the public health by ensuring that each child receives age-appropriate immunizations, any physician, licensed institutional health care provider, local or district health department, and the Department of Health may share immunization and child locator information, including, but not limited to, the month, day, and year of each administered immunization; the child’s name, address, telephone number, birth date, and social security number; and the parents’ names. The immunization information; the child’s name, address, telephone number, birth date, and social security number; and the parents’ names shall be confidential and shall only be shared for the purposes set out in this subsection” §32.1-46. (E).



Parents may obtain both religious and medical exemptions to immunizations. For a religious objection to immunizations, a Certificate of Religious Exemption (Form CRE 1) may be obtained from a local health department or you may download the form here. For a medical exemption, you must have documentary proof from a physician or local health department that one or more immunizations may be detrimental to the student’s health.

No proof of immunization shall be required of any child upon submission of:

(i) an affidavit to the division superintendent stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets or practices or

(ii) a written certification from a licensed physician that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the child’s health,  indicating the specific nature of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization” §22.1-271.4.



For the purpose of §22.1-271.2:

  • “Admit” or “admission” means the official enrollment or reenrollment for attendance at any grade level, whether full-time or part-time, of any student by any school.
  •  “Admitting official” means the school principal or his designated representative if a public school; if a nonpublic school or child-care center, the principal, headmaster or director of the school or center.
  • “Documentary proof” means written certification that a student has been immunized, such certificate to be on a form provided by the State Department of Health and signed by the licensed immunizing physician or an employee of the immunizing local health department.

*Excerpted from the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended; revised July 2001.

This article was taken from the Virginia Homeschool Manual

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