Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a new mandate that will require all public and private school children to get COVID-19 vaccinations, as long as their age is eligible.
When the FDA gives full approval to vaccines for ages 12 and over, the mandate will take effect the next semester for grades 7 through 12.
“Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more. Why? Because vaccines work. This is about keeping our kids safe & healthy,” Newsom tweeted.
Currently, only teens 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccination with full FDA approval, while children over 12 are receiving it with emergency authorization. This means it’s not likely the mandate would kick in for the 2021-2022 school year, but more likely would start next fall.
Younger children from kindergarten to sixth grade would need to be vaccinated to attend all California schools, both public and private, after the shot gets government approval for those ages.
It’s the first such wide mandate in the nation.
Los Angeles and San Diego Counties had already enacted vaccine mandates, but the Los Angeles Times reports that they have also received cease-and-desist letters that are a precursor to a lawsuit. Los Angeles public schools are requiring full vaccination for children 12 and over by January.
California now has the lowest coronavirus case rate of any state. The state re-introduced widespread indoor mask rules over the summer as well as vaccination requirements for restaurants, bars and other businesses in several cities. The Los Angeles City Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to expand the vaccine requirement beyond bars and nightclubs to restaurants and movie theaters, among other venues.