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Female doctor placing adhesive bandage on little girl's arm after vaccination.

Plan Now for School Vaccines - New Requirements for 2021

Author: CHKD Medical Group, Dr. Douglas Mitchell
Published Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021

By Dr. Douglas Mitchell, Norfolk Pediatrics

While news coverage may be focused on COVID vaccinations, Virginia parents of school-age children need to have other vaccinations on their radar as well this spring.

The Virginia Department of Education has not waived any vaccination requirements during the pandemic. Vaccination requirements apply to all students admitted, whether learning is virtual, hybrid, or in-person.

The pediatricians of CHKD Medical Group are asking families to make appointments now to ensure that children are immunized before the start of school. If you wait until the summer to call for an appointment, your child may not be able to receive vaccinations in time, especially if a child needs to catch up on a series of vaccinations.

In addition, it is important for parents to know that Virginia will require additional vaccines for school entry after July 1, 2021. Children will be required to get two vaccinations against both chickenpox and hepatitis A prior to kindergarten. In the past, only one vaccination was required. Two doses of meningococcal vaccine, which protects teens from a particularly dangerous form of meningitis, will also be required, one before the start of 7th grade, and a second dose before the start of 12th grade. The second dose before 12th grade is new.

The HPV vaccine is also required before the start of the 7th grade. Parents may opt out of this vaccine after documented review of educational materials.

A final consideration for timing of vaccines concerns the COVID vaccine. Children ages 16 and older who have certain chronic conditions are currently eligible to receive COVID vaccine. Experts from the CDC estimate that all teens may be eligible to receive COVID vaccine before the end of 2021. Younger children will become eligible after that. Staying up-to-date on your child’s regular vaccines will be important since children will probably be required to wait a certain number of days after receiving any other vaccine to get a COVID vaccine.

As always, your child’s doctor is your best source for information regarding your child’s health.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.