California plans COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schoolchildren
Gov. Gavin Newsom took his recent recall victory as widespread approval of his pandemic policies. On Friday, he said he would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations for California schoolchildren once it gets approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Right now, the vaccine has emergency use authorization for children over the age of 12. Newsom said once the FDA gives final approval, all students in grades seven through 12 must get the vaccine by the start of the following term. California also expects the FDA to approve the vaccine for younger children and will require it for kindergarten through sixth grade once that happens.
Wasn’t there already a vaccine mandate? Up until now, Newsom left the decision up to individual school districts, many of which require the coronavirus vaccine. Newsom said the statewide mandate would not overrule earlier district deadlines. As of Friday, 84 percent of Californians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose. Newsom said medical and religious exemptions would be allowed, but anyone else refusing to comply will have to study from home.
Dig deeper: Read Lauren Dunn’s report in Schooled about how the pandemic has worsened teacher shortages.
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