|Vaccination Requirements for School Employees and Students
|9/1/2021 [Transmittal Sheet]
|Kristen M. Calleja
I am writing to voice my request and sincere hope that the board will mandate vaccines for all school employees, with only medical exemptions allowed. Vaccines are already required for all state employees. In addition, vaccines should be required for all students for whom the vaccine has been fully approved, just as many other vaccines are mandated.
Upon publication of the Notice of Petition in the Virginia Register of Regulations, and upon completion of the 21-day public comment period, VDH will make a determination - within 90 days of the close of the public comment period - as to whether or not to grant the petition.
|Began 9/27/2021 Ended 10/17/2021 15200 comments
|Virginia Register Announcement
Submitted on 9/1/2021
|Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]
|Decision Publication Date
|Published on: 12/20/2022 Volume: 38 Issue: 9
|Agency Decision Summary
On September 1, 2021, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) posted a Petition for Rulemaking (Petition) to Town Hall that was received from a resident of Virginia. The Petition contained two requests: 1) mandate vaccines for all school employees, with only medical exemptions allowed and 2) mandate the vaccine for all students for whom the vaccine has been fully approved. The Petition was posted for a 21 day public comment period and received 15,308 comments. The summary of those comments can be found below.
VDH does not currently have any vaccine mandates for school employees. For students, there are currently school required vaccine mandates for 15 different diseases.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends immunization schedules and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Family Physicians approve and/or adopt them. Each state determines its own laws to establish vaccination requirements for children attending daycare and school.
VDH reviewed the Commonwealth’s immunization requirements for school attendance and compared them to the recommendations set forth by ACIP. A description of the differences identified are shown in Table 3:
Multiple factors influence decisions to require immunizations for school attendance including ACIP recommendations, fiscal considerations, feasibility of implementing the requirement(s), and administrative burdens that may be associated with such requirements.
With regard to the request to mandate vaccines for school employees, VDH does not have clear statutory authority to promulgate regulations for this population.
With regard to a mandate for students, § 32.1-46 of the Code of Virginia clearly provides statutory authority and VDH already promulgates the Regulations for the Immunization of School Children. However, VDH does not have statutory authority to remove the religious exemption.
At this time, all vaccines required by the Regulations for the Immunization of School Children are in alignment with recommendations from ACIP, CDC, AAP, and AAFP with the exception of influenza and COVID-19. VDH has determined that requiring influenza vaccine annually for all children for daycare and/or school attendance would have significant costs to VDH, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services and school systems and daycares. It would also be complex to implement a requirement for school attendance because the new annual vaccine typically does not become available until late August or September, coinciding with the start of the school year. COVID-19 has been added to the CDC immunization schedule webpage but not yet added to Table 1, Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2021.
With respect to the Petition, in light of the lack of clear statutory authority to implement vaccine mandates for school employees No Action is being taken as it relates to vaccine mandates school employees.
Also with respect to the Petition, given the continued administrative, logistical, and financial burdens related to influenza, and the COVID-19 vaccine not yet being added to the Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger, No Action is being taken as it relates to vaccine mandates for students.
|Name / Title:
|Kristin Collins / Policy Analyst, Office of Epidemiology
Virginia Department of Health
109 Governor Street
|(804)864-7298 FAX: (804)864-7022 TDD: ()-