One of three states has already restricted COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools – even before the FDA has fully approved vaccines for children.
why it matters: The Biden administration was expected to rely on schools as “credible messengers” in support of coronavirus vaccines, but schools have become a political battleground as the Omicron version roars across America
big picture: The laws passed so far take different approaches, but the result is that schools in 17 states may not require COVID-19 vaccines. Latest data compiled by the National Academy for State Health Policy.
- For some states, this is the case even when schools expect students to receive other recommended childhood vaccinations, such as measles, polio, and chickenpox.
What are we watchingThe issue of vaccination in schools is set to dominate the agenda as the 2022 session of the legislature resumes.
- new Hampshire taking dueling bills: A Democratic measure that requires COVID vaccinations in both K-12 schools and colleges, and a Republican bill specifically prohibits them.
- Pennsylvania And Missouri MPs are also considering imposing a ban.
Second aspect: California, Louisiana and the District of Columbia have implemented a K-12 student vaccine mandate, to be effective once a COVID vaccine has received full FDA approval for a student age group.
- The Los Angeles school district — the first major US district to call for such a mandate — delayed enforcement because of a lack of good options for students who didn’t comply. Still, about 90 percent of those students had complied three months after the announcement.
Flashback: The Pfizer COVID Vaccine was previously approved for use under the Emergency Use Authorization, which allows the use of unapproved medical products, including vaccines, during public health emergencies.
- That vaccine later found full approval for those 16 and older and is available under the EUA for children ages 5-15.
- In December, Pfizer submitted a request For full approval for their vaccine in children 12-15.
what are they saying: Rep. Jamal Bowman (D.N.Y.), a former school principal, last month told Buzzfeed The Democratic Party has a compelling message on schools “not yet” in the era of COVID.
- Ted Cruz (R-Texas), meanwhile, is pushing for legislation at the federal level that would bar schools from requiring students to receive the COVID vaccine.