Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a mandate Friday making California the first state in the U.S. to require vaccination for eligible kids in K-12 schools.
The mandate will go into effect once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants full approval for a vaccine to the affected age groups, Newsom said Friday. For kids aged 12 and older, that could be as soon as January 2022. For kids under 12, it will more likely be in fall 2022.
UPDATE: California students will be required to get vaccinated, first in the nation.
— Andy Slavitt 🇺🇸💉 (@ASlavitt) October 1, 2021
As of now, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the FDA for individuals aged 16 and older, while kids as young as 12 can get the shots under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Once the mandate goes into effect, kids will not be able to attend in-person schooling at any public or private school in California without being vaccinated against COVID-19. Medical and religious exemptions will be considered.
Individual schools and districts will enforce the mandate, as they do with other vaccine mandates required for students against illnesses like measles and chicken pox. (RELATED: Medical Experts Are Unsure Why Biden Thinks 98% Of Americans Need To Be Vaccinated)
California was previously the first state to mandate vaccination for all health care workers and was the second state, behind only Hawaii, to mandate shots for school staff, according to the Los Angeles Times. As of Sep. 9, about one-third of students in grades 6-12 in Los Angeles Unified School District were unvaccinated, according to interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for kids under 12 as soon as later this month, although some have speculated that it may take until November.