Back to school: Vaccine requirements for Georgia students

3:18 p.m Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Neighborhoods
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Are vaccinations on your back-to-school checklist? If a child is entering daycare, Head Start, pre-K/kindergarten, middle school, college or enrolling in a Georgia school for the first time, a completed Certificate of Immunization will need to be on file at the school within 30 days of enrollment.

Are school vaccinations mandatory? Can students start school without immunizations?

By Georgia law, school vaccinations are required for attendance unless a parent or guardian provides a religious or temporary medical exemption form.

For religious exemptions, the child must have a notarized affidavit stating that vaccinations are against the family’s religious beliefs.

A temporary medical exemption can be granted for up to one year for specific vaccines. This must be marked and signed by a child’s private physician, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or physician assistant (PA) on the Certificate of Immunization.

In the event of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak, students with the above exemptions will not be able to attend school until the outbreak is contained or the child is vaccinated.

Are school vaccinations free? How much do they cost?

Most health insurance plans cover the required immunizations.

For children who are Medicaid-eligible, underinsured or uninsured, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers shots at no or low cost through enrolled providers. For more information, contact the Georgia Immunization Program at 404-657-3158.

Where can I get immunizations for my child?

MORE: 15 ways to get free supplies before your kids head back to school

MORE: The end of summer break: here’s when metro schools re-open

[Jay Janner/American-Statesman]

Which vaccines are required for school enrollment?

A sample Certificate of Immunization can be viewed online on the Georgia Department of Public Health site.

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In other back-to-school news:

More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Our kid reporter, Sammy, explains how this is putting unvaccinated children and vulnerable people who come in contact with them, like infants or grandparents, at greater risk.