State Law & Vaccine Requirements

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West Virginia State Vaccine Requirements

Updated May 27, 2024

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medical exemption

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.​​​​​​

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.


16-3-4. Compulsory immunization of school children; information disseminated; offenses; penalties.

(a) Whenever a resident birth occurs, the commissioner shall promptly provide parents of the newborn child with information on immunizations mandated by this state or required for admission to a public, private and parochial school in this state or a state-regulated child care center.

(b) Except as hereinafter provided, a child entering school or a state-regulated child care center in this state must be immunized against chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough.

(c) No child or person may be admitted or received in any of the schools of the state or a state-regulated child care center until he or she has been immunized against chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio,, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough or produces a certificate from the commissioner granting the child or person an exemption from the compulsory immunization requirements of this section.

(d) Any school or state-regulated child care center personnel having information concerning any person who attempts to be enrolled in a school or state-regulated child care center without having been immunized against chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough shall report the names of all such persons to the commissioner.

(e) Persons may be provisionally enrolled under minimum criteria established by the commissioner so that the person's immunization may be completed while missing a minimum amount of school. No person shall be allowed to enter school without at least one dose of each required vaccine.

(f) County health departments shall furnish the biologicals for this immunization for children of parents or guardians who attest that they cannot afford or otherwise access vaccines elsewhere.

(g) Health officers and physicians who provide vaccinations must present the person vaccinated with a certificate free of charge showing that they have been immunized against chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, 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 chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough.

(h) The commissioner is authorized to grant, renew, condition, deny, suspend or revoke exemptions to the compulsory immunization requirements of this section, on a statewide basis, upon sufficient medical evidence that immunization is contraindicated or there exists a specific precaution to a particular vaccine.

(1) A request for an exemption to the compulsory immunization requirements of this section must be accompanied by the certification of a licensed physician stating that the physical condition of the child is such that immunization is contraindicated or there exists a specific precaution to a particular vaccine.

(2) The commissioner is authorized to appoint and employ an Immunization Officer to make determinations on request for an exemption to the compulsory immunization requirements of this section, on a statewide basis, and delegate to the Immunization Officer the authority granted to the commissioner by this subsection.

(3) A person appointed and employed as the Immunization Officer must be a physician licensed under the laws of this state to practice medicine.

(4) The Immunization Officer's decision on a request for an exemption to the compulsory immunization requirements of this section may be appealed to the State Health Officer.

(5) The final determination of the State Health Officer is subject to a right of appeal pursuant to the provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine a of this code.

(i) A physician who provides any person with a false certificate of immunization against chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio,, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $25 nor more than $100.

§ 16-3-5. Distribution of free vaccine preventives of disease

(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 preventive 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.

(b) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health shall acquire vaccine for the prevention of polio, measles, meningitis, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis-b, haemophilus influenzae-b and other vaccine preventable diseases as considered necessary or required by law and shall distribute the same, free of charge, in quantities he or she considers necessary, to public and private providers, to be used by them for the benefit of citizens to check contagions and control epidemics.

(c) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, through the immunization program, has the responsibility to ensure the distribution, free of charge, of federally supplied vaccines to public and private providers to be used to check contagions and control epidemics: Provided, That the public and private providers may not make a charge for the vaccine itself when administering it to a patient. The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, through the immunization program, shall keep an accurate record of any vaccine delivered as provided in this section.

(d) The commissioner is charged with establishing an Immunization Advisory Committee. The advisory committee is to make recommendations on the distribution of vaccines acquired pursuant to this section, advise the secretary on the changing needs and opportunities for immunization from known diseases for all persons across their life span and track immunization compliance in accordance with federal and state laws. Members of the Immunization Advisory Committee shall be designated and appointed by the commissioner no later than July 1, 2015. The advisory committee 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, pharmacists, the Commissioner of the Bureau for Medical Services, or his or her designee, the health insurance industry, the Director of the Public Employees Insurance Agency, or his or her designee, the self-insured industry and a minimum of three consumers. The state epidemiologist serves as an advisor to the committee. The commissioner, or his or her designee, serves as the chair of the advisory committee. Members of the advisory committee serve four-year terms.

(e) An advisory committee member may not participate in a matter involving specific parties that will have a direct and predicable effect on their financial interest. An effect will not be direct in instances where the chain of causation is attenuated or is contingent upon the occurrence of events that are speculative.

(f) 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 eighteen years. These services are exempt from any deductible, per-visit charge and/or copayment 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 or copayment provisions.

(g) 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, meningitis, measles, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis-b, haemophilus influenzae-b, chickenpox and whooping cough. This information should include the availability of free immunization services for children.


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.

Below are state statutes relating to minor consent for this state; however, there may be additional statutes NVIC is unaware of, and readers may need to do additional research and/or obtain additional legal advice. NVIC doesn't provide legal advice and provides the below for informational purposes only. NVIC provides additional resource information in our FAQ on Vaccination in School-Based Health Clinics, should readers have concerns about the vaccination of their child without parental knowledge or consent this school setting.

West Virginia Code
Article 1. Common Law.
Chapter 16 Public Health. 
Article 4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

§16-4-10. Minors.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any licensed physician may examine, diagnose, or treat any minor with his or her consent for any venereal disease without the knowledge or consent of the minor's parent or guardian. The physician shall not incur any civil or criminal liability in connection therewith except for negligence or wilful injury.

West Virginia Code
Article 2. Legal Holidays, Speical Memorial Days; Constructions of Statutes; Definitions. 

§2-2-10. Rules for construction of statutes.

(a) The following terms are defined for this code:

    (7) "minor" mean persons under the age of 18 years;

West Virginia Code
Article 48. Domestic Relations.

§48-31-102. Definitions.

In this article:

(1) “Adult” means an individual who has attained eighteen years of age or an emancipated minor.

(2) “Caretaking authority” means the right to live with and care for a child on a day-to-day basis. The term includes physical custody, parenting time, right to access, and visitation.

(3) “Child” means:

(A) An unemancipated individual who has not attained eighteen years of age; or

(B) An adult son or daughter by birth or adoption, or under law of this state other than this article, who is the subject of a court order concerning custodial responsibility.

    (7) “Decision-making authority” means the power to make important decisions regarding a child, including decisions regarding the child’s education, religious training,   health care, extracurricular activities, and travel. The term does not include the power to make decisions that necessarily accompany a grant of caretaking authority.


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