Quick Facts and Resources for West Virginia Residents
Quick Fact: To obtain a medical exemption the child’s parent or guardian shall present a written request for an exemption from a physician who has treated or examined the child to the local health officer in the county where the child attends school. The physician’s request for exemption from immunization shall state specifically which vaccine or vaccines the child should be exempt from receiving, an explanation of the medical contraindication or precaution relied upon to make the request, and whether the reason for the exemption is permanent or temporary. If the medical exemption is temporary, the request shall also provide the future date or time when the exemption should be reevaluated. Requests for medical exemption from vaccine requirements shall be reviewed and approved or denied initially by the local health officer in the county where the requestor attends school. Approval or denial of a request shall be in writing and a copy of the response shall be sent to the State Health Officer.
Other Resources: Many vaccination and exemption information links are date specific. If the links below have expired, click on the state's department of health, or immunization program link provided below, as they are likely to provide links to updated information. The General Information link leads to the overview page provided by the state at the time of this webpage's update and may also be helpful. Please email NVIC with broken link information.
K-12 School Information
Other State Resources
The information contained on NVIC's web pages is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be medical or legal advice. Those seeking medical or legal advice should obtain the services of a competent attorney, physician or qualified health care professional. Although NVIC continually updates our website, state laws and rules change frequently and consumers are ultimately responsible for verifying their state's vaccination and exemption laws and requirements.
CHAPTER 16. PUBLIC HEALTH
ARTICLE 3. PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF COMMUNICABLE
AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES
W. Va. Code § 16-3-4. Compulsory immunization of school children; information disseminated; offenses; penalties
Whenever a resident birth occurs, the state director of health shall promptly provide parents of the newborn child with information on immunizations mandated by this state or required for admission to a public school in this state.
All children entering school for the first time in this state shall have been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough. Any person who cannot give satisfactory proof of having been immunized previously or a certificate from a reputable physician showing that an immunization for any or all diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough is impossible or improper or sufficient reason why any or all immunizations should not be done, shall be immunized for diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough prior to being admitted in any of the schools of the state. No child or person shall be admitted or received in any of the schools of the state until he or she has been immunized as hereinafter provided or produces a certificate from a reputable physician showing that an immunization for diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough has been done or is impossible or improper or other sufficient reason why such immunizations have not been done. Any teacher having information concerning any person who attempts to enter school for the first time without having been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough shall report the names of all such persons to the county health officer. It shall be the duty of the health officer in counties having a full-time health officer to see that such persons are immunized before entering school: Provided, That persons enrolling from schools outside of the state may be provisionally enrolled under minimum criteria established by the director of the department of health so that the person's immunization may be completed while missing a minimum amount of school: Provided, however, That no person shall be allowed to enter school without at least one dose of each required vaccine.
In counties where there is no full-time health officer or district health officer, the county commission or municipal council shall appoint competent physicians to do the immunizations and fix their compensation. County health departments shall furnish the biologicals for this immunization free of charge.
Health officers and physicians who shall do this immunization work shall give to all persons and children a certificate free of charge showing that they have been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough, or he or she may give the certificate to any person or child whom he or she knows to have been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough. If any physician shall give any person a false certificate of immunization against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars.
Any parent or guardian who refuses to permit his or her child to be immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough, who cannot give satisfactory proof that the child or person has been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough previously, or a certificate from a reputable physician showing that immunization for any or all is impossible or improper, or sufficient reason why any or all immunizations should not be done, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and except as herein otherwise provided, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.
§ 16-3-5. Distribution of free vaccine preventives of disease
The following is applicable to private, parochial or church schools or schools of a religious order:
(a) Declaration of legislative findings and purpose. -- The Legislature finds and declares that early immunization for preventable diseases represents one of the most cost-effective means of disease prevention. The savings which can be realized from immunization, compared to the cost of health care necessary to treat the illness and lost productivity, are substantial. Immunization of children at an early age serves as a preventative measure both in time and money and is essential to maintain our children's health and well-being. The costs of childhood immunizations should not be allowed to preclude the benefits available from a comprehensive, medically supervised child immunization service. Furthermore, the federal government has established goals that require ninety percent of all children to be immunized by age two and provided funding to allow uninsured children to meet this goal.
(b) The state director of health shall acquire vaccine for the prevention of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis-b, haemophilus influenzae-b and other vaccine preventives of disease as may be deemed necessary or required by law, and shall distribute the same, free of charge, in such quantities as he or she may deem necessary, to county and municipal health officers, to be used by them for the benefit of, and without expense to the citizens within their respective jurisdictions, to check contagions and control epidemics.
(c) The county and municipal health officers shall have the responsibility to properly store and distribute, free of charge, vaccines to private medical or osteopathic physicians within their jurisdictions to be utilized to check contagions and control epidemics: Provided, That the private medical or osteopathic physicians shall not make a charge for the vaccine itself when administering it to a patient. The county and municipal health officers shall provide a receipt to the state director of health for any vaccine delivered as herein provided.
(d) The director of the division of health is charged with establishing a childhood immunization advisory committee to plan for universal access, make recommendations on the distribution of vaccines acquired pursuant to this section and tracking of immunization compliance in accordance with federal and state laws. The childhood immunization advisory committee shall be appointed by the secretary of the department of health and human resources no later than the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-four, and shall be comprised of representatives from the following groups: Public health nursing, public health officers, primary health care providers, pediatricians, family practice physicians, health care administrators, state medicaid program, the health insurance industry, the public employees insurance agency, the self-insured industry and consumers. The state epidemiologist shall serve as an advisor to the committee. Members of the advisory committee shall serve two-year terms.
(e) All health insurance policies and prepaid care policies issued in this state which provide coverage for the children of the insured shall provide coverage for child immunization services to include the cost of the vaccine, if incurred by the health care provider, and all costs of administration from birth through age sixteen years. These services shall be exempt from any deductible, per-visit charge and/or co-payment provisions which may be in force in these policies or contracts. This section does not exempt other health care services provided at the time of immunization from any deductible and/or co-payment provisions.
(f) Attending physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, hospitals, birthing centers, clinics and other appropriate health care providers shall provide parents of newborns and preschool age children with information on the following immunizations: Diphtheria, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis-b, haemophilus influenzae-b and whooping cough. This information should include the availability of free immunization services for children.
CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.
ARTICLE 28. PRIVATE, PAROCHIAL OR CHURCH SCHOOLS,
OR SCHOOLS OF A RELIGIOUS ORDER.
W. Va. Code § 18-28-2. Attendance; health and safety regulations
The following is applicable to private, parochial or church schools or schools of a religious order:
(a) Each school shall observe a minimum instructional term of one hundred eighty days with an average of five hours of instruction per day;
(b) Each school shall make and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each pupil enrolled and regularly attending classes. The attendance records shall be made available to the parents or legal guardians;
(c) Upon the request of the county superintendent, a school (or a parents organization composed of the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school) shall furnish to the county board a list of the names and addresses of all children enrolled in the school between the ages of seven and sixteen years;
(d) Attendance by a child at any school which complies with this article satisfies the requirements of compulsory school attendance;
(e) Each school is subject to reasonable fire, health and safety inspections by state, county and municipal authorities as required by law, and is required to comply with the West Virginia school bus safety regulations; and
(f) Each school shall establish, file and update a school specific crisis response plan which complies with the requirements established for it by the state board and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management pursuant to section nine, article nine-f of this chapter.
W. Va. Code §18-28-6. Requirements exclusive.
No private, parochial or church school or school operated by any other religious group or body as part of its religious ministry or other nonpublic school which complies with the requirements of this article shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.