The state of California will not implement a school SCOVID-19 vaccine mandate until it is fully approved for students of all ages.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency authorized use of the COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 5, only ages 16 and older have received full approval.
The California Department of Public Health said without full approval, the regulation cannot take place in the next school year and may not be implemented until at least July 2023, if the vaccine is approved by then.
“CDPH strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including children, to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” California Department of Public Health Director Tomás J. Aragón said on Thursday. “We continue to ensure that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by the best science and data available.”
California Charter Schools Association President and CEO Myrna Castrejón spoke on the state’s announcement, saying it is necessary in order to give schools and families enough time to plan for such a requirement.
“Today’s announcement to postpone the timeline is the right thing to do and we applaud it,” Castrejón said in a statement. “This provides adequate time for full FDA approval, regulation planning, and input from key stakeholders. More than ever, families and schools need to plan thoughtfully about decisions that could impact the delivery model that they choose for their kids and schools need to staff and budget adequately for those choices, avoiding mid-year transitions that can devastate learning continuity.”
On Thursday, California Senate Bill 871, which would have mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for students of all ages, was put on hold by state Senator Richard Pan, who authored the bill.
“SB 871 is dead. For now anyway,” state Senator Melissa Melendez said Thursday. “Also of note, CDPH will NOT require students to get COVID vaccine until at least July 1, 2023. They may end up dropping it altogether, who knows. Parents, you are the winners today for fighting for your kids.”