Local school districts are preparing to have COVID-19 vaccination a requirement along with 10 other vaccines that are already needed to attend school. Governor Gavin Newsom announced in October that the state would require COVID-19 vaccines for all schoolchildren ages 12 to 17 once the FDA grants full approval.
The Pfizer vaccine received FDA approval for children aged 5 to 11 in November. Therefore, a mandate could go into effect as early as January, but Newsom has encouraged local districts to move forward at their own pace.
Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Superintendent Shawn Posey did not set a timeline to demand the vaccine because he said the state had not officially declared a warrant.
“The October press conference was to announce that he would issue a warrant, but that warrant has not yet taken place,” he said.
He also said any warrant should include a personal belief exemption, where it would allow any parent to sign a waiver for mandatory vaccination based on their personal belief. He said the governor would need the backing of lawmakers to issue a warrant without a personal creed exemption.
“The only way for the governor to make a vaccination warrant without a personal creed exemption is to ask the legislature to change the health and safety code,” Posey said. “Although Democrats have a qualified majority in the Legislature, it is not clear whether they have support for such legislation. We are coming out of a census year and there will be a redistribution of the boundaries of the districts. As such, it is unclear what support such legislation would have in both the Senate and the State Assembly. “
After full FDA approval of age groups within a school interval, the California Department of Public Health will review the recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services Immunization Practices Advisory Committee. of the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family. Doctors before implementing a requirement, according to Newsom when the warrant was announced.
The Gustine Unified School District is preparing to “comply with any state mandate, but it is still too early to start planning,” according to Superintendent Bryan Ballenger.
The district could see a mandate implemented no earlier than July 2022. Ballenger believes there are uncertainties about exemptions going forward, and that will determine.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether students will benefit from a personal or religious belief exemption,” he said. “This will determine whether students are allowed to be in person or need to do independent studies.”