Students in California will now be required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to attend school.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday morning that the state will add the Covid-19 vaccination to immunizations required for in-person school attendance.
This will make California the first state to do so.
The requirements will be phased in by grade groups — 7-12 and K-6 — and will start for each group only after the Food and Drug Administration fully approves the vaccine for that group, according to a news release from Newsom’s office.
“We intend to (have the requirement) once the FDA has fully approved the vaccine, which will give us time to work with districts, give us time to work with parents and educators to build more trust and confidence and build out logistics so that we can deliver on what we are promoting here today,” Newsom said.
The requirement will go into effect at the start of the term that follows the FDA’s full approval for that grade group — either January 1 or July 1, the governor’s office added in its release.
“Based on current information, the requirement is expected to apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022,” the release said. “However, local health jurisdictions and local education agencies are encouraged to implement requirements ahead of a statewide requirement based on their local circumstances.”
Independent study will be an option for unvaccinated students, according to CNN.
The FDA authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to include people ages 12 to 15 back in May. In August, the agency granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older.
“This will accelerate our effort to get this pandemic behind us,” Newsom told CNN’s Ana Cabrera minutes after making the announcement. “We already mandate 10 vaccines. In so many ways… it’s probably the most predictable announcement.”
“I have four young kids. I can’t take this anymore. I’m like most parents, I want to get this behind us, get this economy moving again, make sure our kids never have to worry about getting a call saying they can’t go to school the next day because one of the kids or a staff member tested positive,” the governor added.
Late last month, it was reported that Pfizer and BioNTech said they submitted Covid-19 vaccine data on children 5 to11 to the FDA for initial review, though they were not yet seeking emergency use authorization.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
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