Student vaccine bill pulled
Newsom also delays student vaccine mandate to 2023-24 at earliest
April 25, 2022
State Sen. Richard Pan has pulled a bill that would have required students who attend in-person school to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and would have prevented parents from seeking a personal belief exemption.
Shortly after Pan’s announcement on April 14, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would delay adding COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required immunizations for school-age children to at least July 1, 2023.
“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 in a press release.
He stated that while Senate Bill 871 will not move forward, the Legislature still needs to enact policies to protect California’s children from COVID-19, and shared his support for measures that establish school-based COVID testing plans, a statewide immunization registry and vaccine access for minors ages 12-17.
According to statewide data, 67 percent of California 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated, while 34 percent of California 5- to 11-year-olds are fully vaccinated.
The announcement came just 24 hours after Pan appeared as a guest on the ACSA Legislative Lunch Break to promote the vaccination proposal. On the show, ACSA members shared their concerns about the mandate, despite general support for vaccinations and vaccine access.
Earlier this year, legislation seeking to impose a workplace vaccine mandate (Assembly Bill 1993 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks) was also pulled back by the author.
The state has also announced it will delay a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students that takes effect once the vaccines receive full FDA approval for a grade span.
Due in large part to feedback from ACSA members, the administration has acknowledged that mid-year implementation would be problematic for Local Education Agencies. To ensure sufficient time for implementation, the earliest California would implement a vaccine requirement after full FDA approval, would be July 1, 2023.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has not yet fully approved COVID-19 vaccines for individuals of all ages within the 7–12 grade span. The state announced last October that full approval by the FDA was a precondition to initiating the rulemaking process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance — such as measles, mumps and rubella — pursuant to California’s Health and Safety Code.
According to a press release from the California Department of Public Health, California’s response to conditions in schools has adapted to the dynamic challenges of the pandemic, based on science. As outlined in Newsom’s SMARTER Plan, the state has maintained vaccine supply, operational readiness and access to education and resources about COVID-19 and vaccines with focused engagement to ensure younger Californians are taking opportunities to get vaccinated.
“CDPH strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including children, to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, in a press release. “We continue to ensure that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by the best science and data available. Under the Governor’s SMARTER Plan, California is making informed decisions on how to further protect students and staff, to keep children safely in classrooms.”
Upon full approval by the FDA, CDPH will consider the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians prior to implementing a school vaccine requirement.
CDPH continues to emphasize and conduct outreach regarding the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine; support youth vaccination campaigns and school-located vaccination programs; and strongly encourage all eligible Californians, including eligible children, to get vaccinated.
ACSA will continue to keep members updated on the movement of priority legislation during this session.
Contact Us
© 2022 Association of California School Administrators