Texas Republican Rep. Lance Gooden is set to introduce legislation Thursday aimed to prevent vaccine mandates in schools.
The legislation would prevent the federal government from withholding education funds on the basis of vaccination requirements.
“No Federal education funds may be withheld from an otherwise eligible recipient because such recipient does not require students or employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the legislation says.
Gooden said in a statement to the Daily Caller that the legislation is meant to curb potential mandates from the Biden administration.
“The Biden Administration’s track record suggests it is only a matter of time before they mandate public schools require COVID vaccination. I believe the decision to vaccinate a child should be made by the parents, not the government, and my legislation would ensure the government does not take that choice away,” Gooden said.
The legislation, sponsored by Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Chip Roy of Texas, Mary Miller of Illinois and Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Panel voted to approve the Pfizer vaccine for kids aged 5-11. (RELATED: Pfizer Expects To Make Up To $36 Billion On COVID Vaccines This Year)
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 14-0 to recommend the vaccine for all kids within the age group, with the recommendation being approved by CDC director Rochelle Walensky Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the reward of vaccinating young children was greater than the risk of side effects.
Several ACIP members argued that vaccinating kids will reduce transmission and allow schools to function normally as the pandemic continues.
“Children live in communities with others (including older adults like grandparents) and getting them vaccinated will reduce transmission to others,” University of California San Francisco professor of clinical medicine Dr. Monica Gandhi told the Daily Caller. “Some states right now are enforcing strict mask mandates for children both inside and outside (children are masking outside during school in both CA and OR for instance). The removal of all remaining restrictions for children in schools to go back to normal in these states (who follow CDC guidance for children and schools) will likely only occur after the ability of young children to get the vaccine.”
But Dr. Marty Makary of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said children are not the driving factor in the pandemic.
“The parents who want to get their kids protected can do so, and many are doing so, but again, the driver of the pandemic is still the 75 million adults who refuse to take vaccines.”
CDC data shows 173 kids aged 5-11 have died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.