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In California, schoolchildren are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Newsom Orders COVID Vaccines For Eligible Students - First Government Order For K-12 Schools, Says LA Times.

Photo: Shutterstock

California on Friday, October 1, became the first state to announce a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all schoolchildren in public and private schools, affecting millions of students and putting the state back in the forefront of stringent security measures in a pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the order will go into effect for grades 7 through 12, beginning in the academic semester, after the FDA fully approves the vaccine for children 12 years of age and older. Kindergarten through sixth grade students will receive the vaccine once the vaccine is approved for their age group.

Students 12 and older can get vaccinated as early as January 2022 if federal approval for the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is obtained by the end of this year, the governor said in a speech at James Denman High School in San Francisco.

“We still have a hard time getting to where we need to be,” Newsom said of efforts to contain the pandemic. "Which means we need to do more and we need to do better."

Individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with special authorization. The vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for individuals over the age of 16.

Unlike other vaccines required for schoolchildren, the plan will allow parents to invoke personal beliefs in refusing to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Under state law that has applied to similar circumstances in the past, a personal conviction exception should be granted because the new vaccination requirement is being introduced through the regulatory process and not through the legislature. Legislators and the governor could later pass legislation overturning the personal conviction exception for the COVID-19 vaccine.

State Senator Scott Winer (Democrat from San Francisco), who attended the announcement, supports the lifting of the waiver, a spokesman said.

On Friday, the governor declined to say whether he would implement such a measure.

In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a strict vaccine law that lifted the personal or religious exemptions for older vaccines, allowing only medical exceptions. The law was developed after declining childhood vaccination rates and a measles outbreak at Disneyland that spread to seven other states, Canada and Mexico.

If parents do not apply for an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination for medical reasons or for personal reasons, they will not be allowed to enroll students for face-to-face classes on campus. These unvaccinated students will have the opportunity to enroll in an online school, attend self-study programs offered by counties, or study at home.

Implementation of this mandate will depend on schools and districts, as is the case for other required vaccines.

The governor's office said it will wait to begin meeting the requirement - including for students 16 and older - until it applies to all students 12 and older. However, Newsom has made it clear that he wants to give schools enough time to practice their compliance and verification processes. He said he also wants families to have enough time to get vaccinated.

The start date of the mandate for any particular age range could be January 1, 2022; July 1, 2022; or January 1, 2023 - but only after the vaccine has received full FDA approval.

Vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 are not yet available, although Pfizer is expected to apply for an emergency use authorization, citing trial data showing vaccines are safe and effective for this age group. According to the Associated Press, a vaccine for these children may be available on Thanksgiving, but full approval will likely take several months. It is possible that the vaccination requirement will not apply to primary school students until January 2023.

With Newsom's order, California is again moving faster than any other state in responding to the pandemic that has killed some 69 residents. California was the first to impose lockdown at the start of the pandemic and enacted a second household order in most of the state late last year. Schools here have remained closed longer than many other states and longer than many business sectors, which has led some to criticize the governor for not making campus reopening a priority.

California was the second state after Hawaii to impose strict rules on school personnel who must be vaccinated or tested weekly for coronavirus. Other government officials must follow similar rules.

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Once Newsom's powers become effective for students, they will also apply to school staff. One group of lawyers said that the requirement for adults should be immediate.

“The Governor missed the opportunity to announce a clear and decisive order that all adults in public schools should be vaccinated now, failing to convey to the whole of California that adult vaccination is the best way to keep our children safe,” said Megan Bachigalupi, head of OpenSchoolsCA. who advocated faster campus openings during the last academic year.

Legal problems are likely to arise with the authorization of vaccinations in California.

Across the state, at least five school districts, including the two largest, Los Angeles and San Diego, have approved an order to vaccinate their students. Los Angeles and San Diego have already received end-of-prosecution letters ahead of the trial.

Several parents in Los Angeles have put forward various arguments against this mandate. According to experts, a number of these reasons are actually false, such as claims that the vaccine kills more people than the virus and that the vaccine poses a greater risk to children than COVID-19.

Some parents and human rights activists say the vaccines are too new for their children to be vaccinated.

“Even after this vaccine gets FDA approval, it won't undergo long-term research,” said Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe, a group that has sued to overturn student mask orders and oppose vaccination demands. students. “Families need to be able to make these personal health decisions for themselves, and there is no reason to demand vaccinations for children who are at low risk for serious complications from the virus.”

But many parents, groups and doctors welcomed the news of the mandate.

“I'm really excited about this decision,” said Tanya Schwartz, who has a 7-year-old child at Cubberley Elementary School in Long Beach. “I was very nervous sending our daughter back to school this year, especially with the delta wave and some parents' rejection of masking their children. I take this virus very seriously and believe that school safety should be a priority and requires this holistic approach: vaccines, masks, quarantine, contact tracing. "

The two federal state teachers' unions have expressed support for the mandate, as has the association representing the state school boards.

Across all age groups, 226 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been administered in the United States since December, unparalleled in US history. During this period, 54% of US teens aged 12 to 15 received at least one dose, as did 62% of teens aged 16 and 17. Many experts say that if there was a problem with the safety of a vaccine for adolescents, it would probably have surfaced by now.

Initially, there were concerns about myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart muscle - as a side effect of the Pfizer vaccine, mainly among young men. But further research found that of the 8,9 million teens who received the Pfizer vaccine by mid-July, there were fewer than 400 reports of myocarditis, with usually mild symptoms and no associated death reports.

According to a report published by the CDC, the most common adverse events in pediatrics were dizziness, headache, and fainting, some of which are likely related to anxiety about needles. The agency said teenagers often pass out after any vaccination.

There have been 287 COVID-19 deaths in children between the ages of 12 and 17 across the country, according to the CDC. California has reported 26 COVID-19 deaths among children aged 5 to 17, according to the Department of Health.

Many experts believe that not vaccinating adolescents will prolong the pandemic. According to UCLA epidemiologist Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, young people "can be sources of transmission of the virus to their homes," putting their relatives - even those vaccinated - at risk for a breakthrough infection.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

In Los Angeles County, unvaccinated teens aged 12 to 17 had the highest incidence of coronavirus in the past month - 19% worse than unvaccinated adults under 50 and 33% worse than unvaccinated seniors of people.

“High vaccination rates are critical to containing infectious disease,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

While most parents, based on recent vaccination rates, appear to have accepted the mandate to vaccinate Los Angeles' uniform vaccines for students 12 and older, thousands of parents have not.

LA Unified Interim Supt. Megan C. Reilly estimated that of the 225 students in grades 000 through 6, approximately 12 were not vaccinated as of 80 September; the district has not recently updated these figures. Eligible Los Angeles students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities must receive their first dose by October 000, but they will not be prohibited from participating in these activities unless they receive a second dose by October 9.

Los Angeles students must be fully immunized by January 10th or they will not be able to start their second semester in person.

Some parents threaten to take their children out of Los Angeles schools, but the governor's ruling may limit their choices about where else they can go in the long run.

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Other In the U.S. California COVID-19 vaccination of children schools k-12 OpenSchoolsCA Pfizer-BioNTech Governor Gavin Newsom
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