As the first state to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all public and private school children, California is now at the forefront of strict pandemic safety measures, affecting millions of students.
At a press conference on October 1, the Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that students would need to be fully vaccinated before taking part in face-to-face instruction. For the mandate to go into effect, it must be approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration before January 1 of the following year, either on January 1 or July 1.
California Vaccine Mandate
The FDA has approved emergency use of kid-size doses, which is only a third of the amount given to teens and adults. This means that up to 28 million additional American children could be eligible for vaccinations as soon as next week, according to Daily Democrat.
California’s school vaccine mandate will not be activated even if the federal Food and Drug Administration advisory board recommends that the vaccine be given emergency use authorization, not until the FDA has fully authorized vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 and adolescents aged 12-17.
Secretary Mark Ghaly of the California Department of Public Health and Human Services Agency said on Wednesday that 1.2 million doses of the vaccine would be available in the state once emergency use is approved for children aged 5 to 11. The state has already begun vaccinating children whose families request the vaccine without waiting for FDA approval, as per EdSource.
Legislators Are Worried
According to Los Angeles Times, Newsom left it up to state public health officials to define the criteria for receiving these exemptions. As a result, legislators are worried that the mandate’s allowance of broad exemptions could jeopardize the state’s efforts to protect schools should a large number of families opt out of vaccination.
School employees will be subjected to the vaccine requirement as well. When the vaccination mandate goes into effect for students, all public school employees will be required to comply. Teachers and other employees who are not protected by vaccinations are currently subjected to regular testing, as per The Almanac.
Mountain View Los Altos Union Nellie Meyer, the Superintendent of the Los Altos Union High School District, the governor’s statements suggested that he was considering offering exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It still remains to be seen what the details will be for those who are exempt,” Meyer said. “I anxiously await that guidance.”