Any vaccine mandate for students won’t happen until July 2023 at the earliest, state says
Any state requirement for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t take effect before July 1, 2023, the California Department of Public Health announced Thursday.
When Gov. Gavin Newsom previously announced plans to add the COVID-19 shot to the list of required vaccinations for K-12 students, the state said full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was a precondition to starting the process.
To date, the federal officials have granted emergency-use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines to be given to children 5 and older, but they have yet to fully authorize shots for students under the age of 16. Even if that changes between now and the next school year, that wouldn’t leave much time to implement a requirement.
As a result, the CDPH said in a statement that it would “not initiate the regulatory process for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-2023 school year and as such, any vaccine requirements would not take effect until after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.”
“CDPH strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including children, to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said. “We continue to ensure that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by the best science and data available.”
In a related development, Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) on Thursday withdrew a bill that would have required all California students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in 2023. The legislation would have also eliminated personal exemptions.
“Until children’s access to COVID vaccination is greatly improved, I believe that a state-wide policy to require COVID vaccination in schools is not the immediate priority, although it is an appropriate safety policy for many school districts in communities with good vaccine access,” Pan said.
Once vaccines are fully approved for students younger than 16, CDPH officials say they will consider the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians before implementing a requirement.