The California Department of Public Health on Friday quietly dropped its plan to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for children to attend K-12 schools.
The move is a reversal from Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021 announcement that the state would force students to take the vaccine – a decision that was delayed by state officials until at least the summer of 2023.
Now, state public health officials say they still “strongly recommend” vaccinating children and staff, but that any decisions to requirements should be “properly addressed through the legislative process.”
As the Redlands Daily notes,
The education news site EdSource reported Feb. 1 that the state would no longer pursue it, citing unnamed officials. When the Bay Area News Group asked whether the state was dropping plans for the mandate, the California Department of Public Health would not directly answer but did not dispute the EdSource report, noting that “emergency regulations are not being pursued.”
“The legislature considered this issue last year and did not enact legislation mandating COVID-19 vaccines for K-12 students,” the CDPH said in a statement, adding “The state’s COVID-19 state of emergency will terminate later this month, and per the recent announcement by the federal government, the federal public health emergency will end in May.”
In October 2021, Newsom said that the mandate would begin for students in grades 7-12 in July of 2022 if the FDA had granted full approval for students in those grades. Mandates for K-6 students were set to follow.
According to the CDC, 25% of California children aged 12-17, and 60% of those aged 5-11 have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.