School vaccination numbers for central Shenandoah health district for kindergarteners

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:37 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2023 at 12:25 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -According to the CDC, vaccination coverage among kindergarten students remains below pre-pandemic levels nationally and exemptions have increased.

Laura Lee Wight, population health manager for the Central Shenandoah Health District said in 2022, 91.8% of kindergarteners in public schools, the Central Shenandoah Health District were considered adequately vaccinated.

In private schools, 71% were considered adequately vaccinated, said Wight.

Wight said school vaccine requirements ensure protection from vaccine preventable diseases. Schools and childcare facilities are where vaccine preventable diseases will likely spread.

“So It is really important to remember that on time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Wight.

Wight said Virginia allows two types of exemptions from required vaccinations, one is a medical exemption, and the other is religious exemptions.

" Healthcare providers will provide written documentation for medical exemptions,” said Wight.

For religious exemption a notarized form that has to be completed when the child is , said Wight.

" This form allows the parent to acknowledge that in the occurrence of an outbreak or epidemic, the state health commissioner can order the child’s exclusion from school for protection under the danger has passed,” said Wight.

Wight said low vaccine coverage in communities put them at risk for outbreak for serious diseases.

“While Measles, Rubella, and Polio are considered to be officially eliminated i n the United States that is not the case globally,” said Wight.

Wight said to maintain this elimination status, high vaccine rates against serious illness need to be maintained.