Why California Delayed Its School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Why California Delayed Its School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Why California Delayed Its School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

CCalifornia is delaying the implementation of a requirement for K-12 students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to get to school, state health officials announced this week as the country struggles with a delayed COVID-19 vaccination rate among children.

Under the new timeline, California’s vaccine requirements will not take effect until at least July 1, 2023, and after full approval of the vaccine for children by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “to ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements, “the California Department of Public Health said in a announcement on Thursday.

FDA fully approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for persons 16 years and older in August, and The modern vaccine in January for those 18 and older, but has not extended full approval to younger ages. Children aged 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under the FDA’s emergency use permit; studies have shown the vaccine is safe and effective for that age group.

In October, California became the first state to announce that once the vaccine receives full FDA approval, children would be required to have it go to school. “The state already requires students to be vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps and rubella – there is no reason why we should not do the same for COVID-19,” California Gov. Newsom said at the time.

Read more: Schools could help more children get the COVID-19 vaccine. But the story has some caveats

Louisiana and Washington, DC, also announced similar mandates and will require the COVID-19 vaccine for personal schooling in the 2022-23 school year for those in an age group with full FDA approval. New York and Illinois currently require COVID-19 vaccines for students in public colleges and universities, but not at the K-12 level.

Meanwhile, 18 states have banned COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students, according to one tracker of the National Academy for State Health Policy.

California’s official statement on the reasons for the delay downplays any political aspect and focuses solely on the logistics of the rule. Nevertheless, the debate over vaccine mandates in schools is the latest example of intense polarization over pandemic safety restrictions. While 70% of Democrats are in favor of requiring students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, only 17% of Republicans do so, according to a new poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Parents of children attending K-12 schools were also less likely than others to support vaccine or mesh mandates in school, the study showed.

At the same time, the vaccination rate among American children has stalled: so far, only 28% of 5- to 11-year-olds and 58% of 12- to 17-year-olds have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a American Academy of Pediatrics analysis of CDC data. And some public health experts say school vaccine requirements may be the key to changing that.

Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, says school vaccine mandates have historically been an effective way to increase the number of childhood vaccinations.

“There is a long precedent for requiring vaccination to get into school,” Nash says. “And it’s very effective in getting vaccine coverage up to the required levels in children for things like measles, mumps and rubella.”

Read more: Sets record for COVID-19 vaccines for children

Washington State health officials also decided this week not to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in schools, after Washington State Health Board of Health discussed the challenges of implementing such a requirement and confronting vaccination dust in society while maintaining personal learning, that Spokesman review reported.

Even a school vaccine mandate may not be enough to persuade the most vaccine-hesitant parents. Nearly a quarter of parents said they “certainly would not” get their 12-17 year old vaccinated against COVID-19, and 4% said they would only get their teen vaccinated if they were required to do so in the school. according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation published in February. Many who oppose COVID-19 vaccinations for children point out that their age group has been less likely to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19 – even though it happens.

“We have to remember that it’s a public health problem, and it’s a public health crisis, and children do not exist in a vacuum,” Nash said. “They live in households with adults who are vulnerable for all sorts of different reasons. And they contribute to the spread beyond their own risk. “

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Write to Katie Reilly at [email protected].

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