Red states fight school vaccine mandates

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One of three states has already restricted COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools – even before the FDA has fully approved vaccines for children.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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