After implementing first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination measures, California becomes the first state to announce plans to require student vaccinations – adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for schools, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella.
Students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the plans at a school in San Francisco last week. The state will add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when the vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for middle and high school grades, making California the first state in the nation to announce such a measure.
The announcement follows a requirement put in place in August that mandates all school employees in the state either receive a COVID-19 vaccination or be tested weekly. The vaccine mandate will begin applying to staff “no later than when the requirement takes effect for students.
“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom,” said Governor Newsom. “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
California continues to lead the nation with the lowest COVID case rate, the lowest death rate, and the most vaccinations administered. The latest CDC data indicate that youth in California are being hospitalized at less than one-fourth the rate of states like Florida and less than one-half the rate of the nation as a whole.