May we claim a religious exemption from immunizations for school in Virginia?
The laws of Virginia do allow for religious exemption from immunization for school. It is not clear whether they will honor an exemption from a different state but they have procedures to allow for the exemption from the requirement in Virginia.
Please see the following excerpts from the Virginia statutes:
§ 22.1-271.4. Health requirements for home-instructed, exempted, and excused children.
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.
Upon request by the division superintendent, the parent shall submit to such division superintendent documentary proof of immunization in compliance with § 32.1-46.
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.
Please see also:
12 VAC 5-110-80 Exemptions from immunization requirements.
A. Religious and medical exemptions. No certificate of immunization shall be required of any student for admission to school if:
The student or his parent or guardian submits a Certificate of Religious Exemption (Form CRE 1), to the admitting official of the school to which the student is seeking admission. Form CRE 1 is an affidavit stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the student's religious tenets or practices. For a student enrolled before July 1, 1983, any document present in the student's permanent school record claiming religious exemption shall be acceptable, or
The school has written certification on any of the documents specified under "documentary proof'' in 12 VAC 5-110-10 from a physician or a local health department that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the student's health. Such certification of medical exemption shall specify the nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization. For a student enrolled before July 1, 1983, any document attesting to the fact that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the student's health shall be acceptable.
B. Demonstration of existing immunity. The demonstration in a student of antibodies against either rubeola or rubella in sufficient quantity to ensure protection of that student against that disease, shall render that student exempt from the immunization requirements contained in 12 VAC 5-110-70 for the disease in question. Such protection should be demonstrated by means of a serological testing method appropriate for measuring protective antibodies against rubeola or rubella respectively.
Statutory Authority: §§ 22.1-271.1, 22.1-271.2, 32.1-12, and 32.1-46 of the Code of Virginia.