A state law will require schoolchildren in Virginia, including those in public and private schools and licensed day care centers, be vaccinated against contagious diseases.
The law, which takes effect July 1, expands the current requirement that pupils entering school for the first time and those transferring to Virginia schools from out of state show proof of inoculations.
Beginning with the new school year, students from kindergarten through high school will have to provide documentation showing when they were inoculated for diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, rubella (German measles) and mumps.
Without proof, they will not be allowed to attend school.
Exemptions would be granted if inoculation would violate a student's religious tenets or if a doctor determines that vaccination would endanger the student's health.
The law is intended to stamp out the possibility of a measles outbreak, according to Donald L. Biemiller, chief of the immunization program for the state health department.
The new law will force many in the upper grades whose parents have lost documentation of measles inoculation to be revaccinated.
Revaccination also will be necessary if a child was vaccinated for measles before 1968 or before the child was a year old.
Vaccines given before that time to children less than a year old have been found to be less effective than more recent vaccines.