RD258 - 2019 Annual Review of Statutory Childhood Immunization Requirements – June 25, 2019

Executive Summary:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) completed the annual review of Virginia’s statutory childhood immunization requirements (§ 32.1-46) and found that the requirements for five vaccines are not in alignment with current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Vaccines help protect the health and well-being of children and adolescents. They work by safely presenting weak or dead germs to an individual, which allows the individual to create antibodies and develop a strong immune system before they come into contact with the disease. When exposed to that germ in the future, their body’s immune system recognizes the germ and can work quickly and effectively to prevent severe illness (“Vaccine Basics," 2017). Vaccination is particularly helpful in preventing illness in daycare and school settings where there is close contact among individuals. When enough of the population is vaccinated against a specific disease, the germ cannot spread as easily. This protects everyone, including those who are most vulnerable because they are too young to get vaccinated or have weak immune systems (“Vaccines Protect Your Community," 2017).

The ACIP recommends immunization schedules and the CDC, AAP, AAFP, and ACOG approve them. Each state determines its own laws to establish vaccination requirements for children attending daycare and school.